Main   Movie 5G81 by Richard Pavlicek  

Aces and Spaces

Playing with a new partner in the Open Pairs, you had a good game in the afternoon and sit down for the final session. On the first board, you pick up the following hand as dealer with both sides vulnerable:

Both Vul

S A 7 5 2
H A 9 8 2
D A 8 3
C A 3

What is your opening bid? _____

One thing is for sure: You have a stopper in every suit! With both four-card majors, it is tempting to open 1 D; but it’s better to show the balanced hand and point count in one bid. _____

Opponents will pass throughout. Partner responds 2 D, which is a Jacoby transfer (showing hearts). What is your next bid? _____

Normally, you just complete the transfer, but your hand has become stronger (in hearts) than the 15-17 you showed; so you tell partner the good news. Partner next bids 4 C, which shows a second suit and slam interest. Your next bid? _____

This cooperates and shows your most convenient ace. Slam is likely, but there is no hurry; it will be much better if partner is the one to ask for aces. Sure enough, partner obliges with 4 NT, and you have agreed to play key-card Blackwood. What is your answer? _____

This shows one or four key cards, and partner will know it is four from the strength of your bidding. Next, you almost fall out of your chair as partner jumps to 7 H. And you are the one who has to play it! TopMain

West leads the D Q, and partner lays down a fine dummy. This is what you see:

7 H South

H K Q J 6 5
D 4 2
C K Q J 10
Lead: D QTable
S A 7 5 2
H A 9 8 2
D A 8 3
C A 3

Not counting ruffs, how many top tricks do you have? _____

If trumps break 2-2 or 3-1, how can you guarantee a 13th trick to make your contract? _____

After winning the D A (clever not to hold up), which heart honor will you win first? _____

Oops! Bad news. West, on your left, shows out on the first heart. Thus, if you draw trumps, you will not have a trump left in your hand to ruff dummy’s last diamond (after pitching diamonds on clubs). This calls for a change in plans. Which card do you lead? _____

Instead of trying for a diamond ruff, you should play for a dummy reversal (ruffing in the long hand). All follow with low spades. Which card do you lead next? _____

East covers with the queen and you win the ace. You next lead the S 5 and West plays the 10. Which card do you play from dummy? _____

Good thing! East pitches a club. This is what remains with the lead in dummy:

7 H South

H Q 6 5
D 4
C K Q J 10
North leadsTable
S 7
H A 9 8
D 8 3
C A 3

Which card do you lead? _____

East follows low, and you win cheaply with the eight (West has shown out, remember). You next lead the S 7. Which card will you play from dummy? _____

I hope so! Anything else, and you might as well concede. Which card do you lead next? _____

East plays the 10 and you win the ace. Things are looking good now. Which card do lead next? _____

Excellent! Don’t forget that last straggler (East tried to fool you on the previous trick). From dummy, you pitch the losing diamond, and all the clubs are good.

Making seven! It might be helpful to lay out a deck of cards and replay the deal.

The E-W hands:

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


Bidding:1 NT
3 H
4 D
5 D
D ruff
Play:H 5
H 6
H 9

© 2013 Richard Pavlicek