Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, February 28th, 2020


Iain ClimieMarch 13th, 2020 at 11:02 am

Hi Bobby,

Should we blame North for moving the cold 3N into 4H? I’m impressed by West finding the trump lead although with some partners I’d never hear the last of it if the D lead in response to partner’s double were correct. Incredibly good defence but would you have avoided the D lead as West on the auction as shown?

I suppose with East ducking the second diamond he can infer that West hasn’t got DAx or he would have led one. Even so, A very bemused South will score up the D9 and an overtrick if he started with DK9 alone and East ducks. Still, that is the merit of teams vs Pairs / BAM – invest an IMP to gain a lot.



A V Ramana RaoMarch 13th, 2020 at 11:51 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolf
E W defended extremely well earning all those points. Perhaps North regretted his bid of 4 hearts , perhaps not as there is no point in playing this hand in 3 NT . But , doubledummy there is a way of making the contract. Win the lead, lead club to A in dummy, lead low spade! East cannot play Q. South plays ten, West wins and leads another trump. South wins, ruffs a club , leads trump to hand!! and ruffs another club, leads K and A of spade and leads club pitching diamond from dummy ( but this is strictly doubledummy play) which I thought I should share

bobbywolffMarch 13th, 2020 at 1:35 pm

Hi Iain & AVRR,

Since all logical roads lead to 4 hearts, especially for North, when diamonds are doubled for a lead and partner has shown extras, with hearts as trump, it becomes pure
folly to consider playing 3NT, although, and, of course, when played by South, it is 100% guaranteed.

Therefore Leonard Cohen’s bell ringing quote resounds in favor of both defenders combined defense, not underrating West, Steen Moeller’s trump lead and East, Stig Werdelin’s courageous diamond duck to partner’s nine, that specific card, known throughout Europe, as the curse of Scotland, but waiting for Iain to describe why.

It is also quite interesting that Iain so correctly mentioned that the real bridge (rubber and IMPs) in trying to defeat contracts, not overly worrying about overtricks (catering to the scoring system) instead of having to consider the impossibility of which player, partner or opponent, possessed the diamond nine, so critical in matchpoints, but, in actuality, a false god, which unfortunately, and sadly, becomes a huge factor with the result.

Also much thanks to AVRR to show us how to make 4 hearts, but as he alludes, only adopting his line of play if playing with transparent cards, especially after East’s lead directing diamond double, brilliantly, not heeded by his partner.

BTW, I remember playing against Moeller and Werdelin many years ago and several times to which they were always extremely tough opponents and two of the nicest people I have ever had the opportunity and pleasure to play against.

Iain ClimieMarch 13th, 2020 at 4:01 pm

HI Bobby,

North is perhaps guilty for not hogging the hand! If he bids 4H instead of transferring, Can anyone not lead the DQ?


bobbywolffMarch 13th, 2020 at 5:11 pm

Hi Iain,

No, I couldn’t.

To relieve the possibility of North being guilty, almost all worthwhile and even halfway serious bridge players play either 2 level and/or 4 level transfers making it well nigh impossible for North to be responsible for the bad result.

Further, transfers appear to be working since the king of diamonds is now protected from opening lead slaughter, because in effect it paves the way for a 3rd round diamond ruff in the short trump hand which amounts to the contract trick.

By this strange twist, the transfer works well since the trump lead turns out to have even greater defensive effect than does the diamond queen. All the above often is what our game is about, which in turn makes it so varied and challenging and thus the best mind competition ever.

Picture the beauty of Stig’s low diamond gamble, in order for his partner to have the nine allowing the third heart to be led. However that play is great in REAL bridge, but a huge gamble at matchpoints, destined for almost a zero if wrong, but only an overtrick at IMPs or rubber. No way to tell, but “You pays your money you take your choices”!