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THE ACES ON THE BRIDGE

October 14, 2018

“Where a technique tells you ‘how’ and a philosophy tells you ‘what,’ a methodology will contain elements of both ‘what’ and ‘how.’”

— Peter Checkland

The basic arts of declarer play consist, as a friend of mine once said, of drawing trumps, taking finesses and cashing winners. But there is also a place for squeeze-play and other, more challenging arts. Today’s deal involves both simple and complex skills.

You reach six no-trump and receive the lead of the diamond 10, which you win in hand. Despite your combined 33 high-card points, slam is a fairly dicey affair, thanks to the duplication and wasted values in diamonds.

At trick two, you try a heart to the queen, hoping that it will lose to the ace. It does, and East returns a passive diamond. How should you plan the play from here on in?

No matter how you intend to manage the play outside clubs, you should plan on the club finesse working. You must win the second diamond in hand, cash the club ace — to protect against West having the singleton queen — and must then take the spade ace and queen, followed by the heart king and jack. At that point, you will cross to table with a diamond.

Next, you take the spade king, throwing a club from hand. If the spade jack has fallen, you cash the last spade winner and take the club finesse. If East has kept the spade jack, he must have reduced to two clubs. So now the clubs will produce four tricks, thanks to the club finesse.

Note that if East ducks the first two hearts, he will be caught in a triple squeeze and be forced to concede the overtrick!

ANSWER: While this may look like a dead minimum for a jump to two spades, that is clearly the right call. Your hand improved dramatically when your partner suggested relative shortness in clubs, meaning that all your honors are working overtime. Had your left-hand opponent opened a red suit, it would be less clear that jumping to two spades is the right call — though you might do it anyway.

For details of Bobby Wolffs autobiography, “The Lone Wolff,” contact shewolff5757@aol.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, e-mail him at bobbywolff@mindspring.com.

Copyright 2018, Distributed by Andrews McMeel for UFS

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