Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, February 4th, 2020


Iain ClimieFebruary 18th, 2020 at 10:38 am

Hi Bobby,

A couple of minor points today. Firstly the lead of the SJ here increases the chance of a cover whereas the S8 is more likely to get ducked by a player with (say) KQx. Ironically sneaking the 8 past West on the first round when he holds KQxx makes it easier for him / her to get the defence right later. Still, it does mean that if you were to lead the 9 from QJ109x towards Axx and West covered, it is very likely to be K alone; covering with Kx would be a disaster if declarer had Q1098x.

The second point is that South has the D10 and thus the option to get diamonds wrong by returning to hand with the D10 instead of the DA to cope with the possible line of defence. The H being 6-2 argue against this being best but East could have DQx(x). Without the D10, South doesn’t have a losing option. How many times have we all been there after 1N 3N and West leads a small spade finding dummy with Q10 alone and declarer with Ax(x) and a nightmare decision at T1? Qx of course and the pain is removed.



bobbywolffbFebruary 18th, 2020 at 4:30 pm

Hi Iain,

Well thought and on the mark with your different versions of possible (and likely) card combinations.

Then include the playing of bridge with the laws of nature, emphasized in Freeman Dyson’s apt quote, and strange as it may seem, it, at least to me, the interesting part, would apply just as accurately.

And even though it wouldn’t work today, I completely agree with biting the bullet and take the lesser percentage of the queen of diamonds being with East, the heart bidder, since without it, makes the ultimate goal of success, much less likely.

All battlefield decisions, difficult to assess, keeping in mind, as always, the actual given distribution is merely a speck in the overall discussion of the better chance, although at the table, both the emotions and the later conversation tends to overrate what turns out to be the winning choice.

Also, and for that matter, with the BWTA it should be noted that vulnerable, a mere 2 hearts by East, is much the better risk than is a jump to 3, although, usually because of space limitations, we do not often choose to mention it.

Thanks for discussing the various card combinations involved which lead to many different thoughts about best play. Again, the author of the quote, likely not a bridge player, really, at least IMO, nailed it, just about as much about bridge as he thought about all of nature.

David WarheitFebruary 18th, 2020 at 5:29 pm

Iain: you make the case for finessing the D10 which works if E has DQ. Not against best defense! When a D is led off dummy, E plays the Q!

bobbywolffFebruary 18th, 2020 at 6:18 pm

Hi David,

While not venturing into whether it is indeed clever to play the diamond queen, designed to persuade declarer to go wrong in spades, your deception only adds to including bridge as, at least to me, by far the greatest mind game ever invented, and as such, deserves to be thought of by all who play and, of course, to those who desire, at least, to step their toes in, to see whether or not they can keep pace.

Iain ClimieFebruary 19th, 2020 at 12:36 am

HI David,

Thanks (as ever) for the willingness to think outside the box.