Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, April 21st, 2020


David WarheitMay 5th, 2020 at 9:37 am

S should bid 4H over partner’s 3NT, which contract should almost surely make. I can’t understand why neither S insisted on playing 4H.

bobbywolffMay 5th, 2020 at 3:29 pm

Hi David,

While I definitely agree that NS should wind up playing a 4 heart contract, I can understand, to the point of agreeing with North, to his 3rd round choice of 3NT (while holding 5-1-4-3).

Perhaps South might have considered bidding 3 spades, while holding Jx of partner’s primary suit the round before, but his AQJxxx in hearts was just too strong to be left unbid,

Then when North suggested his singleton heart by his 3NT bid, South should then definitely convert to 4 hearts, especially since South’s club holding became better once North showed at least one major honor to go with (plus the unseen advantage of a perhaps likely club lead)

Sometimes a less than very experienced player may get somewhat raddled by partner’s first denial (his 3NT choice) and instead of thinking it through, then merely gives up too soon with his decision making imagination. If holding a heart void, North should probably have bid 4 clubs if holding 5-0-4-4 or 4 diamonds with 5-0-5-3 since it sometimes is never too late to find a playable suit fit, especially when NT will usually find it somewhat difficult to impossible to score up nine tricks.

David SnookMay 5th, 2020 at 5:50 pm

Hi Mr Wolf…

Just wanted to say I love your column. I look at it every morning while eating breakfast and try to solve the hand on my own before looking at your explanation. Sometimes I succeed, as often as not I don’t, and sometimes I do!

Anyways… looking for another path thru today’s hand, I decided to play the heart 8 on Levitina’s low heart shift. I realize this looks to be a really irrational play and it seemed to work. Due to the distribution, the 8 holds and now if I play the heart Q next, East seems to be stuck.

If East doesn’t take the heart Q on that first trick, I just keep playing hearts until I force the king, and then I can cover any card East plays in the other suites (I think) and East cannot stop me from getting back to the remaining hearts via the club suite, no?

bobbywolffMay 7th, 2020 at 6:17 pm

Hi David,

And welcome to AOB, with hope that you will continue to find it both enjoyable and instructive.

One thing for sure is that quite a number of our regulars are truly excellent players, ones who could hold their own, even against most of the world’s best, while others,though less experienced, seem to be on a straight path to improving both with the advantage of seeing our maestro’s opinions (almost never contrived by the result, but rather conforming to bridge percentage thinking).

you may also see some contradictions, based not necessarily on percentage, but rather extraneous reasons such as the opening lead chosen, or in general the way a defender reacts to the line chosen by declarer and of course, factoring in sometimes subtle legal signals by the defense which are always intended to help partner more than it may direct declarer, but not always turning out that way.

In any event, I (we) hope you continue to have positive experiences by participating in playing the hands. However your recent finesse of the eight of hearts may have used up some of your allotted overall luck so be prepared to be a victim of the immutable law of averages which seems always to be a factor while playing our superior and exciting game.

But when I, and all others interested, wish you good luck, what that means is even if your play or bid doesn’t work in a positive sense, the experience you will glean, plus the comments available will offset the disadvantage of the result and continue to improve both your judgment and, more importantly, your overall game.