Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, April 11th, 2020


A V Ramana RaoApril 25th, 2020 at 10:22 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
If south places West with the key cards : heart K, club A and Q or J to three spades, perhaps he can succeed even if he plays heart Q from dummy on the lead fo eg., After Q wins, he leads spades and hands over West his spade trick , wins the heart return in hand and runs all trumps. In the five card position, West must retain at least two clubs and one heart and hence a maximum of two diamonds. Now south cashes two diamonds ending in dummy and leads heart for West to win and makes ten tricks. It does not make a difference if he keeps two hearts or three clubs and even if West returns a diamond after winning spade, south wins, cashes hearts A and runs trumps

Bill CubleyApril 25th, 2020 at 1:17 pm


Thinking at trick one on how many tricks are needed to make the contract is often obscured by seemingly getting a free finesse on the opening lead. This is a great temptation. Resist initial thoughts as seldom to defenders play cards as declarers wish them to. Good series this week.

bobbywolffbApril 25th, 2020 at 5:33 pm


The long and short of it is basically card reading, depending whom declarer plays for the ace of clubs and, if West, how many clubs he started with.

The embarrassing ending with your line of play might be East holding: s. J, h. K96, d. Q1076, c. AJ532 leaving West with: s. Q108, h. 875, d. J43, c. Q876 where both rounded suits had key cards onside but down we’d go.

As we can all see, the key factor for the defense is not allowing declarer to suspect that the ace of clubs is onside for him, otherwise his task becomes as clear as duck soup.

However, on a different day, your line could be necessary to succeed, making it wise for a clever declarer, from the get go, including deciding whether or not to rise with the queen of hearts at trick one, to, at the very least, start out with a possible winning plan.

And that’s why we all (or most), love this game. TABLE UP!

A V Ramana RaoApril 25th, 2020 at 5:40 pm

Love the last sentence

bobbywolffApril 25th, 2020 at 5:45 pm

Hi Bill,

Yes, your advice is right on, leaving a competent declarer, today’s hand being a good example, needing proper planning very early in the play.

Whatever the end result, my advice for declarer is to select what he or she thinks is the most likely to succeed, postponing the most challenging decisions (if possible) to later when more is known. When it becomes questionable, again like today (the location of the club ace), always consider the bidding, of course, also passes, but this hand doesn’t offer any of that, but perhaps a hitch by East (not) over North’s raise to 2 spades may or may not indicate that the club ace is more likely, offside.

Nothing comes easy, and BTW thanks for your comment on this week’s theme.