Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, February 1st, 2020


A V Ramana RaoFebruary 15th, 2020 at 11:27 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
West defended well but even if had he returned a heart after winning diamond, it needs for good judgment by south. After the club finesse wins ( with east ducking) he needs to decide whether to play for drop of K or repeat of the finesse or play for diamond break even without split honors . For eg., If West has K Q 9 5 of diamonds , south goes down . Tough call but today, South could have prevailed as after cashing club A ( percentage play) and leading diamond from dummy and though he loses a second diamond, the long diamond sees him through

bobbywolffFebruary 15th, 2020 at 12:45 pm


All you say is true. except your mentioning West having the KQ95 instead of the KQ85 since East had already switched to the 9 of diamonds.

However, yes it was well defended by EW, viewing the location of the relevant cards to be similar by both East and West: “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and waddles like a duck, it is usually a —–“.

Much of bridge, while either declaring or defending, with the necessary caveat of all three active players being well respected grizzled veterans, has both sides being respectful of each other, declarer mindful of the defense being capable of trying to deceive him or her, but at the same time relying on himself to zero in on the declarer play most likely to be successful, based on the layout suspected
while playing against two defenders who are mindful of choosing the best defense designed to represent, at the very least, a chance to defeat their worthy opponent.

While the playing of bridge, with many types of players sometimes masquerading as better than they really are, it is actually not that difficult for the “real expert” (whether the declarer or one of the defenders) to know which one that is, and thus determine correctly, while at the table, what to do, leaving both sides the ability to correctly make apple sauce out of the bridge apple presented to him or them.

However, indeed if an error occurs, that lesser player, if one of the defenders, may then leave a frustrated partner, at the death, of having to lick his own wounds.

However, the good which might emerge may result next time to be a wannabe good (or great) player to use any one hand to leap forward in consistent ability to read cards, always remembering the bidding, specific play up to then, counting both distributions, high cards, and recognizing stealth by an opponent, but until that transforms, it is usually necessary to not hold one’s breath till it does.

Patrick CheuFebruary 15th, 2020 at 10:01 pm

Hi Bobby, We languished in 2S at pairs on this hand: North JT732 Q4 AQT853 Void South K9 K832 K962 A86-our bidding went W pass N pass E pass S 1N(13-15),P N 2H*P S 2S pass out.Please could you advise how we might get to 5D(even opposite 1N 12-14) making? West Q8654 J95 Void KQ542 East A AT76 J74 JT973.I mangled the play in 2S and most pairs were in a diamond partscore. .Regards~Patrick.

bobbywolffFebruary 16th, 2020 at 12:34 am

Hi Patrick,

Playing your conventions (WNT & Transfers) it could possibly go three passes to 1NT, then 2H by North and over partner’s 2 S, North should definitely bid 3 diamonds, Perhaps South will pass that, but, because of his support and prime values, a diamond raise to 4 is probably my choice. Then of course North would bid 5D, but be lucky to make it, with the singleton Ace of spades on side and no entry to West for the setting ruff.

BTW, EW were cold for 5 clubs and never got in the bidding. I expect to hear from them soon, if only to set a long distance record for both sides unhappy with their bidding.

However, I do not think any serious mistakes were made, except when holding 1-4-3-5 I think it right for East to make a balancing double when 2 spades was passed around to him. What will happen then is anyone’s guess, but West should bid at least up to 4 clubs and maybe 5, when then NS can take a save, which will happen to make, no doubt doubled.

However, all the above is only guesswork, but rest assured no one is terribly guilty, since North passing 2S looks OK, especially at matchpoints, but then East should double back in, and the fireworks will start.

The result will be the opposite of what usually happens with the last bidder getting the zero, but then who woulda thunk it?

Patrick CheuFebruary 16th, 2020 at 9:41 am

Hi Bobby, Thanks again for your helpful insight,especially from East’s angle of failing to bid,which I have not noticed when looking at the whole hand,sometimes the concentration is just not there,perhaps playing too much.Regards and Best of Health to you and Judy~Patrick.

bobbywolffFebruary 16th, 2020 at 3:08 pm

Hi Patrick,

Certainly no apologies are needed for policing or even thinking about an opponent failing his responsibilities. It is always better to use one’s concentration to ensure bidding his own hand in (at least how he judges) to bid it, in the most constructive manner.

However, in retrospect, and for moving forward, quite often, while in a spare time mode, it is bridge educational to notice one’s opponents action, if for no other reason than, if those opponents play quite often in the same venue as you, to be better informed how they think.

However, to do so might inevitably be a waste of time when they, like many others, sometimes do and other times don’t.