The Adventures of Poor Frank’s Friends, Part III: Saving an AceBy Ray Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
An interesting hand came up just the other day at the local bridge club which illustrated the advantage of saving an ace.Dealer: West North West North East South Vulnerable: EW ♠ A862 1♠ Pass Pass Dbl. ♥ KJ742 2♠ 3♥ Pass 4♦ ♦ 98 Pass 4♠ Pass 6♦ All pass. ♣ 108 West East ♠ KQJ93 ♠ 10754 ♥ A53 ♥ Q108 ♦ 10 ♦ 64 ♣ K642 ♣ 9753 South (Ace Banghor/Jack Leeder) ♠ void ♥ 96 ♦ AKQJ7532 ♣ AQJ
Ace Banghor and Jack Leeder were playing with different partners on this particular evening, but both of them were sitting South. They each reached a six diamond contract on this board on the bidding shown. When Ace declared, West led the ♠K and Ace played dummy’s ace, throwing a heart. He then tried the club finesse. When this failed, West promptly cashed the ace of hearts to set the contract.
When Jack Leeder declared this hand, he took a different approach, saving dummy’s ace for later. He ruffed the opening spade lead and banged down the ace of diamonds. He became thoughtful when West’s ten dropped on this card and formulated an interesting line of play.
At trick three, he led a small heart towards dummy. West had no choice but to take the ace. Had he played low, declarer would have risen with the king and sluffed his last heart on the ace of spades, eventually losing only a club to make the small slam.
West exited with the queen of spades, also ruffed by declarer. Jack now led a heart to the king and ruffed a heart high. When East’s queen fell, he smiled, then got to dummy by leading a small trump to the nine, also drawing East’s last trump in the process. He now tossed his queen and jack of clubs on the two high hearts to claim this small slam. Not only had Jack saved dummy’s ace until later, he hadn’t even used it!
Later, when he and Ace were discussing the evening’s hands at the diner, Jack chided his friend. “You have to be careful of your aces, Ace. Sometimes you have to save them until they’re really needed.”
“But do I have to be like you, Jack,” Ace said smiling, “and not even use them?”