Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, February 17th, 2020


David WarheitMarch 2nd, 2020 at 4:22 pm

In the other room, S won the A at trick one, ruffed a D & led the C9. For some strange reason, W didn’t see that he needed to play the A, so E won the Q and returned a H. S won the K, ruffed out the CA, ruffed a D and drew trump. Making 4H.

Iain ClimieMarch 2nd, 2020 at 5:20 pm

Hi Bobby,

With all that defence and the oppo possibly stretching, a trump lead does seem reasonable but I’m sure I’d have led the DK without giving the matter too much thought!



bobbywolffMarch 2nd, 2020 at 7:14 pm

Hi David,

No doubt, your play of the club nine at trick 3 has merit, with both the positions of the two missing club honors and likely, the defensive judgments, particularly West, contributing mightily to the end result.

As of yet, at least in my rather long experience, found an accurate way to figure out this sort of declarer technique, at least the best percentage way, since that computation (difficult because of the intangibles), either is too hard to determine, or perhaps the truth of just me, being too lazy to try.

bobbywolffbMarch 2nd, 2020 at 7:22 pm

Hi Iain,

My educated guess, is that you would indeed have led a trump, but are just too modest to suggest it. Yes, if defending against an eleven trick contract, a diamond lead may appear right, but here, it is a most crucial only ten trick one.

David WarheitMarch 2nd, 2020 at 7:36 pm

Given this solid Club suit, I am quite sure that my suggested play is best. It only requires E not to have both honors (in which case probably nothing will work) and for W not to play an honor on the 9 (unless he has both honors, in which case probably both lines work). McGowan’s line not only requires something good in the Club suit but something very good in Spades.

bobbywolffMarch 2nd, 2020 at 8:15 pm

Hi David,

I have no mathematical reason to doubt your line is the best percentage line, but when and if West holds the club queen but not the ace (yes, you already admitted that), then and if East would not rise with the ace when a club was led and against only 4 hearts, he should not rise (I think) then down you would go if you didn’t play the king.

I do not doubt your assessment, but those intangibles make it, IMO, too difficult to accept which line is best.