Sometimes you have to miss winning a trick with an Ace

  • File photograph

    File photograph

  • Bridge: Graphic 1

    Bridge: Graphic 1

  • Bridge: Graphic 2

    Bridge: Graphic 2

  • Graphic 3: Dealer South E/W Vulnerable

    Graphic 3: Dealer South E/W Vulnerable


Friday, July 3

1, Edward Betteto — Jack Rhind

2, Patricia Colmet — Heather Woolf

3, Richard Hall — John Luebkemann

Monday, July 6

1, Gertrude Barker — Jane Smith

2, Richard Gray — Wendy Gray

3, Inger Mesna — John Rayner

Tuesday, July 7

1, Marion Silver — Duncan Silver

2, Mark Stevens — Malcolm Moseley

3, Joann Dawson — Mike Dawson

Wednesday, July 8

1, Linda Pollett — William Pollett

2, Edward Betteto — Charles Hall

3, Patricia Siddle — Diana Diel

Thursday, July 9

1, Marion Silver — Duncan Silver

2, Elizabeth McKee — Linda Pollett

3, Margaret Way — Miodrag Novakovic

This week’s hand is all about defence and, more importantly, patience in defence.

I always tell bridge players that in defence, for the most part, Aces were designed to take other high cards and that, too often, players dart up with an Ace as soon as the suit is played and give away trick after trick after trick!

If you want to become a good defender you must be prepared to, once in a while, miss winning a trick with an Ace, knowing that in the long run you will benefit by gaining more tricks than you lose by being patient

Two quick examples before I get to the hand, one simple and the other a bit more complex.

See graphic 1

Declarer leads the 2 from the Board. Go up with your Ace and declarer makes two tricks in the suit — let declarer win the King and that is his only trick in the suit. See graphic 2

Now assume that declarer is in a Spade contract and that he has lots of trumps in each hand and this is his Heart and Diamond holding and you are defending.

When declarer leads the singleton Heart from dummy, if you dart up with the Ace declarers two losing Diamonds in dummy will go away on the King, Queen of Hearts and you will get just one trick.

If, however, you play low and let declarer win the Queen of Hearts see what happens — declarer now has no way to avoid two Diamond losers and so you end up one trick better off.

Now to the real life hand:

Dealer South E/W Vulnerable, see graphic 3

Quite a few South players played in the Spade slam which succeeded at every table — but one! The lead was quite often the 10 of Spades which is a good start for the defence.

Declarer won this, crossed to a Heart to play a Club and East won the Ace to play a second trump — this left declarer no choice but to ruff a Club and hope for good things, and good things happened.

With the Queen of Clubs coming down eventually declarer made the slam. So how did one declarer go down?

Well, it needed an East player who had listened to the bidding and had been here before — and perhaps read an earlier column of mine!

At that table, West also led a trump, but when declarer crossed to dummy to play a Club, East played smoothly low ­ — declarer, quite naturally, now played the Jack of Clubs which lost to the Queen and a second trump play actually had the contract defeated by two tricks!

East made a great play … knowing that declarer probably had five Clubs, East knew that with just two trumps left in dummy he was always going to get his Club Ace, so ducking the first Club was never going to cost and gave declarer a chance to go wrong- which he did!

Nice play — take a good look at the hand and try and see how East came to his conclusion as this is a situation that occurs time and time again at the table.

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Published Jul 11, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jul 11, 2020 at 8:15 am)

Sometimes you have to miss winning a trick with an Ace

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