Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, February 12th, 2020


A V Ramana RaoFebruary 26th, 2020 at 11:11 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Perhaps East was wrong in both theory and practice. If West held five carded diamond suit , south is marked with 7 1 1 4 distribution and even if his clubs are 6 4 3 2, he will make the contract. So east perforce lead A of diamond and hope south is dealt with two diamonds. The blame squarely rests with east
And perhaps South should have cashed A of spades after ruffing second heart and work on clubs. He will make the the contract if east has Singleton spade and two clubs ( as in the column hand) Two spades with K and with two clubs . Request your opinion

bobbywolffFebruary 26th, 2020 at 2:17 pm


Thanks for your well considered opinion.

First, in regard to East’s decision to prefer playing declarer for less than the 10 of spades (and only seven) would be quite an overbid, as pointed out in the column with the inferential reference to South’s vulnerable bid. Second, although West should have led the queen of diamonds, that type of “omitted mistake” is sometimes made, even by experienced and reliable players, thinking partner will do the right thing (in case declarer plays small and, of course, East was dealt the jack of diamonds, but, for whatever reason, was playing against a novice player, who decided to play the king from dummy. Also, if South had only AQ seventh would he have not led the jack from dummy, catering to East having a singleton king?

However, there is even another, perhaps psychological thought involved, if, in fact East perhaps hesitated (not mentioned in the text) over North’s spade raise, obviously thinking about not passing, which only could involve bidding 5 diamonds, a likely telltale move, denying the king of spades (onside for the opponents) but having enough distribution, (at least five of them, including the ace) but then deciding the penalty might be too severe.

As you are well aware, these breaks in tempo by opponents, occur often as well as smooth passes, and although both are certainly legal, their opponents are certainly able to take advantage of them, with only the partner of the one who hesitates, virtually barred from profiting by what might be considered illegal and unauthorized information.

Therefore an alert declarer may, based on East’s slow pass over 4 spades (if there was one), seek out the winning line of ace of spades, and four rounds of clubs. No doubt, brilliant such views as that, are often successfully and brilliantly done, as long as at the table, telltale G2 is possibly transmitted to the enemy.