Bridge World Extra! Newsletter

PLACE THE ACE

by Eric Leong

Matchpoints
Neither side vulnerable

NORTH
S K 8 6 5
H 5 4
D K J 10 3 2
C K 2
SOUTH
S --
H K Q J 10 9 8 7
D Q 5 4
C Q 3 2

SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
3 HPass4 HPass
PassPass

Spade queen, five, seven, ruff.
Heart queen, deuce, four, three.
Heart jack, ace, five, six.
Spade jack, six, three, ruff.
Diamond five, six, jack, nine.

Plan the play.

Solution below.

NORTH
S K 8 6 5
H 5 4
D K J 10 3 2
C K 6
WEST
S Q J 10 9 2
H A 2
D A 8 6
C 10 5 4
EAST
S A 7 4 3
H 6 3
D 9 7
C A J 9 8 7
SOUTH
S --
H K Q J 10 9 8 7
D Q 5 4
C Q 3 2

Unless the ace of diamonds is doubleton, it should be with West, from the fall of the diamond spots. But if West has the diamond ace, he probably does not have the club ace--otherwise, he might have taken some action over three hearts. Therefore, to provide for East's holding the club ace when no red ace drops early, you should ruff another low spade from dummy, lead the queen of diamonds to dummy's king, then play the spade king, pitching the third diamond from the closed hand. If East started with only four spades to the ace, he will be endplayed.

This problem was inspired by a deal played by Meyer Schleifer.

WHEN PUZZLES WERE POPULAR

Over the years, bridge puzzles have fallen to ever-lower levels of popularity. For example, at one time the solving of double-dummy problems was a major bridge activity; now, it is pursued by only a few die-hards, and anyone who needs a double-dummy result for some other purpose can call on software.

In the early years of contract bridge, when puzzles were popular, fans were sometimes able to apply solution techniques to at-the-table bridge situations. For example, during the 1930's, John C. Stablein offered this example of a double-dummy theme in a single-dummy setting:

South dealer
Both sides vulnerable

NORTH
S J 10 8 5 4
H A K
D J 3
C Q 7 4 2
WEST
S Q 6
H 10 9 8 7 5 4 3
D A
C A 9 3
EAST
S --
H 6 2
D K 9 8 7 6 5 4 2
C J 10 8
SOUTH
S A K 9 7 3 2
H Q J
D Q 10
C K 6 5

SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
1 S2 H3 S4 D
4 SPassPassPass

West cashed the ace of diamonds and shifted to a heart. South tested trumps, discovering that West had started with two spades and one diamond. Declarer could succeed by drawing trumps and playing on clubs if West had been dealt a club holding such as ace-jack-third. However, a more spectacular play was available, which succeeds against any West hand with 2=7=1=3 distribution including the ace of clubs: Clear the remaining high heart, then let West win the second round of trumps. If West continues with a club, declarer gets three club tricks without letting East on lead. If West tries a heart, declarer ruffs in dummy, pitching a club from the closed hand, then attacks clubs.








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