Hand of the day #44

The Aces On Bridge by Bobby Wolff

South’s decision not to break the transfer was well-judged. Aceless balanced hands should be downgraded, and there was little chance of missing a good game if North passed a simple completion to two spades. When North offered a choice of games, South converted to spades.

Opening Lead: 10

West led the heart 10 from his sequence (he would probably lead the four from 10-nine-six-four, but the seven-spot made the 10-lead more appealing), to the two and ace. East switched to a club, declarer winning the king and running the spade queen to East’s king. East now had to switch to diamonds to give declarer a losing option, but declarer reasoned that East might have opened the bidding with ace-ace-king, non-vulnerable in third seat. He therefore played small from hand, forcing the ace to score up his game.

East had to attack diamonds because declarer had two discards coming on the heart king-queen, but that would not have been so if East had played small at trick one, rather than his ace beating thin air. That would limit declarer to two heart tricks, after which normal play would lead to down one. East would not be desperate to attack diamonds, a frozen suit, after which declarer would have to tackle them himself.

Should East get it right at trick one? It would be unusual to lead away from a king around to a strong no-trump opening against a suit contract, and playing small breaks even when West has led from the queen. Thus, East should duck. Note that declarer can make the hand even on best defense, by eliminating the rounded suits then playing ace and another spade to endplay East, but only in wonderland.


Bid with the Aces

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