Both vulnerable. South deals.


xK Q 9 6

u8 5 3 2

vQ 6 5 2



xA 4 3 x7 2

uQ 7 4 uJ 10 9 6

vJ 10 9 8 vK

wK 10 3 wJ 8 7 6 4 2


xJ 10 8 5

uA K

vA 7 4 3

wA 9 5

The bidding:


1NT Pass 2w Pass

2x Pass 3x Pass

4x Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Jack of v

Follow the bidding and play on this deal from a rubber bridge game. Was the result normal? Could declarer have done better?

Opposite a 15-17 point no trump, game prospects are not that promising but, at this vulnerability, the North hand is worth a move.

When the Stayman two-club inquiry elicited the information that South held a spade suit, North invited game by raising to three spades, With a hand loaded with prime cards, South had no problem accepting.

West led the jack of diamonds, declarer played low from dummy and captured East’s king with the ace. The ace of clubs was cashed, followed by a club ruff on the table. Declarer came to hand with the ace of hearts and ruffed another club. The king of spades was led to the ace and West persevered with a diamond. The ten was covered with the queen, East ruffed and declarer eventually had to concede two diamond tricks — down one.

Had declarer counted his losers at trick one, it would have been obvious that, with normal splits, the only losers were two diamonds and the ace of trumps. What declarer could not afford was to have a diamond honor ruffed away. Since the king of diamonds was certainly a singleton, declarer had a sure-trick line for his contract!

The king of diamonds should be allowed to win the first trick! Suppose East returns a heart. Declarer wins, cashes the ace of clubs, ruffs a club high and leads a spade to the eight. If West wins and plays another diamond, declarer ducks in dummy and East can ruff a trick declarer must lose anyway. With any other defense, declarer ruffs the remaining club loser, forces out the ace of spades and loses only another diamond trick. Making four-odd.

The moral of this tale: Aces were made to capture kings — sometimes!

2013 Tribune Media Services

More like this from

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.