Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, March 20th, 2020


Bobby WolffApril 3rd, 2020 at 6:08 pm

To all who are interested,

Today’s hand has a very high level adjunct worth considering while attempting to form a winning partnership:

The subject directly pertains to superior legal defensive signals, which probably, more often than suspected, may lead to devastating defense and for the right reasons.

After the opening jack of clubs lead, the declarer, Peter Weichsel, made the correct
play of ducking the queen of clubs in dummy because if he would have risen with the queen in dummy, West should then win the king of clubs (not the ace) and return his six, hopefully to partner’s known ten,, which then would suggest to partner to switch to a diamond (lower of the other two suits) since he, East is known to have the king. This play, as it turned out, is necessary to defeat the hand (cancelled the squeeze at the death).

Since declarer ducked the club in dummy, when East then also ducks, it also suggests a switch (otherwise overtake and cash the other) and that switch again should, by hand logic to show the diamond king plus, of course, the necessity to switch.

Yes, there could be mitigating other circumstances, but on reflection, none of those factors are likely present.

Rarely does a hand emerge which exemplifies a defensive situation wherein partners can communicate legally and, better yet, so effectively.

Sure, the above is very high level bridge, but to walk away from it, without strongly appreciating its advantage, is wasted opportunity of the highest order.

Yes, our write up of this hand could include that discussion, but the limit on words precludes us from doing so, but even if it didn’t, the many lesser involved readers might always think that playing bridge is not worth that dedication.

Those reading up to now, I sincerely believe, would not agree.

Joe1April 4th, 2020 at 1:19 am

I’m not sure that forming a winning partnership with west would progress very far, I don’t get the 3 club bid. My former partners would disapprove. Maybe that’s why todays E-W are high level if they can make it work for them. But overall it looks like a risky gambit.

Iain ClimieApril 4th, 2020 at 2:06 pm

HI Joe1, Bobby,

Interesting that East didn’t double 4S.



Bobby WolffApril 4th, 2020 at 5:00 pm

Hi Joe1,

The upshot IMO of West’s NV 3 club preempt should not be measured in terms of good or bad, or winning or losing, but rather in degrees of style, to which, and, of course, supremely aggressive would describe this one.

The major reason, at least for me, is that those those types of tactics are basically impossible to intelligently judge since often the difference between results (bidding or not) can affect that specific hand in so many ways:

1. Takes bidding space away from the pair who is overwhelming likely to buy the hand.

2. Sometimes allows partner to sneak in a lead director when otherwise he may not (here, if North makes a negative double, East could, and probably should chirp, 3 diamonds).

3. However that may be counterbalanced by, if North then becomes declarer, West’s bid may influence partner off to the wrong lead.

4. At any rate, once West does preempt, it will be very likely that the bidding will go differently here (with possibly NS not being able to overcome their now somewhat restricted less bidding space).

5. And BTW, to bid 3C, is indeed risky, but if it stands to gain more than to lose and especially against a better than average pair………….?

Two bridge lovers, experienced or not, can argue both ways with the result not being settled to which works better, but, in order to be bridge educated enough to join that argument, it would be wise to see both types of strategy in action (and over a significant amount of time) but also very important, the caliber of opponents played against, especially their experience of playing against “ultra wild” bidders rather than conventional ones.

Your post and summations indicate to me that you are willing to consider either, only waiting to get wide enough real life examples to see for yourself just what a significant number of those types of action may produce.

Perhaps reading the World Championship (and other high-level events real hands may help, as well as especially noting while playing in normal duplicate games, whether they work, plus, even when no “wild bid” was made, what might have happened, if it had been.

Yes, it is often very worthwhile to see for oneself what the other roosters are doing when searching for supremacy in the hen house, which, in this case, instead, takes place at the table.

Good luck in your quest.

Bobby WolffApril 4th, 2020 at 5:13 pm

Hi Iain,

East probably considered himself (when 4 spades was bid) between a rock and a hard place. South bidding on after hearing the bidding and never expecting to take two club tricks, but even after that good fortune, having his partnership to defend well to defeat them, and not willing to contract for 10 tricks in NT (or 11 in 5 clubs) and thus hope to grab a small plus rather then a minus.

Somewhat like the compromise of settling out of court.