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Sometimes playing your Ace is not a good idea!

After three passes North opens 1♣ . East doubles and South bids 1 

West passes, North raises to 2  and South bids game. West leads a diamond.

Let us first think about the bidding. East’s Double shows two suits – which could be diamonds (or clubs) and spades. West has a shortage in spades, so that suit is out. With a shortage in hearts West should bid 2  (especially since it is a six card suit) and hopefully partner will sacrifice in 5 . If partner doesn’t sacrifice in 5  they must have spades and clubs, therefore over 4  West should bid 5♣ !

West leads a small diamond, taken by the A . Noting the fall of the K  East shifts to a small club. The Q♣  is covered by the K♣. Should Declarer win this trick with the A♣ ?

Believe it or not, the answer is NO! East cannot have a singleton club! If East has three clubs there is no problem – but what if East has two clubs? Now, when hearts are played, East will win the A , play a club to West’s J♣ , and will ruff a club return and the contract is defeated! The safety play of refusing to take the A♣  on the first round of clubs therefore ensures the contract.

Last updated : 8th Mar 2017 12:47 BST