Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, February 6th, 2020


GinnyFebruary 21st, 2020 at 12:54 am

Looking at today’s hand, I noticed the 9’s and 8’s were a bit one sided (one-teamed?). As East, I too-often get burned leading the the J from J10x, as “naturally” declarer has Q9x. (With J108, I could be convinced.)

I would have cleared hearts (3 rounds) and (as this is column bridge) slid my partner a club under the table in exchange for a spade and let declarer play the hand open for this “minor” transgression. Can it be made?

Robert LiptonFebruary 21st, 2020 at 1:20 am

For me, Ginny, Every lead of the Queen from QJ9 finds the KT in dummy and the Ace in declarer’s hand.

So Say We All

bobbywolffFebruary 21st, 2020 at 5:50 am

Hi Ginny,

Yes, 8 for 8 for 9’s and 8’s looks mighty strong, but that advantage can be overcome by the simple process of not covering the opening lead of the heart jack with dummy’s queen and saving her to protect against two spade leads from the original RHO of declarer (made possible by West, after declarer did rise with the heart queen at trick one,, with his brilliant underlead to partner’s 9 of hearts for the second spade lead through declarer to, if you’ll please excuse, finishing off that heart attack with a victory for EW.

Should declarer cover the original jack of hearts lead? Definitely NO, since in my nearly 200 years of bridge playing (although it doesn’t seem longer than 150) I have yet to see an opening leader (great or not so) ever lead the jack from AKJ). I guess it has been done by new players who are taught to lead 3rd and 5th, but if so, and he does, it is unlikely you or anyone else, will encounter him no matter how often one plays, since he will likely not enjoy playing, nor the constant look he will continue to receive from his then revolving partners which often occurs in those situations.

However, good luck and with the law of averages being always present, and you sitting South, may you then be blessed with more than your share of 9’s and 8’s. After all you are not asking for a king’s ransom!

Thanks for writing.

bobbywolffFebruary 21st, 2020 at 6:01 am

Hi Robert,

Your simple solution is to always, if possible, then start leading the Queen from Q32 and await the stern look you’ll receive from all the declarers who then will play you for your non-existent jack.

However, it is barely possible that by doing so it will ever so often not work out perfectly, but when and if it does, it will no doubt get you even, with even your arch enemy, making that experience worthwhile.

However, like is often said or written, do not try this at home. Instead switch to often leading the K from KQx and watch the dummy lay down Jxx (of course, in the same suit), usually the first three cards he will lay down.