East-West Game; dealer South


4A 10 8 5 2


#A J 8 7 6 5 4


West East

4none 4J 7 3

!A 10 8 4 3 !7 6 5 2

#10 9 3 2 #none

2A 4 3 2 2Q J 8 7 6 5


4K Q 9 6 4

!K J 9

#K Q

2K 10 9

When you find yourself looking at two aces and are on lead against a grand slam bid by your opponents, which one do you lead? Normally, the one supported by fewer cards has the better chance of survival, but just suppose your partner has doubled the grand slam.

This was a deal from the Marlboro China Cup, played in Peking in September and reported by Henry Francis in the International Bridge Press Association bulletin.

You are West and hear the following bidding: South opens One Club (strong and artificial) and North gives a positive response of Two Diamonds. Spades are bid and supported - a forcing to game scenario now exists - but South signs off with Four Spades. North, however, presses on with a cue bid of Five Clubs and, rather wildly with his aceless hand, South shows his second round heart control. North jumps to Seven Spades, your partner doubles, and there you are on lead.

Jens Auken, representing Europe, found the right answer when he led neither ace but chose the ten of diamonds - suit preference for hearts. East trumped and dutifully returned a heart. Another diamond ruff followed, and that produced +500 points on a deal where several defenders had gone astray even against a small slam. You can see what a catastrophe it would have been if West had chosen the ace of clubs for his opening salvo.