Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 23rd, 2020


A V Ramana RaoMay 7th, 2020 at 12:43 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Many times the contract is presented on the lead and this is another addition. As can be seen, south does not have any play on any lead except diamond. Most of the times, lead of K from K Q alone loses rather than otherwise. ( Perhaps defending a slam could be an exception)

Iain ClimieMay 7th, 2020 at 1:03 pm


There is always that sinking feeling when Jxx(x) hits the deck although KQ10xx wouldn’t work either today. Remember West’s double, though. West could surely be forgiven for thinking East had something in diamonds.



A V Ramana RaoMay 7th, 2020 at 2:00 pm

Hi lain
If West assumes that east has a four card diamond suit based on his double, EW can get perhaps one diamond trick at the most and it becomes imperative not to lead a diamond. West knows for certain that dummy cannot have a four or more card spade suit and also east cannot double with a four card heart suit. So , I feel that East’s double is clearly with a four card spade suit ( four only else, he could have overcalled ) . From this inference, West could have led a spade or even a club hoping east could come with at least J if not better

jim2May 7th, 2020 at 3:52 pm

Pard promised spades, so I’m leading one.

All too often when declarer has shown strength, a lead from KQ finds AJ10 on my right.

bobbywolffMay 7th, 2020 at 5:18 pm

Hi AVRR, Iain, & Jim2,

Oh, the wails from the defense, for that turned out to be, awful lead (and follow up), can be heard loud, clear and worse, invitations to go between the partners),outside to settle it, soon to follow.

Only perhaps a less muscled East inviting his partner to go outside, but also caveating he may not go outside with him. lightening the mood, and perhaps saving the mayhem.

Let’s examine:

1. East should have balanced with 2 clubs, with the idea of bidding spades next, if plausible, in order to better describe his ducats and more importantly (at least on this hand) getting a much better opening lead.

2. If so, when the shouting and the hoorahs die, the final contract will almost certainly be 3 hearts by South down 1 after NS and W both grudgingly raise, but West leads a club. If so, nothing at all will be either discussed or much less, resort to fisticuffs or, for that matter, any bad will at all.

3. Helping partner legally in the bidding is both paving the way to bidding to a better contract while, at the same time, suggesting how to begin the defense a better way with the opening lead, too often a key factor. Obviously to double first by East does get the other major in the game immediately, but, as is almost always the case, is it the most practical way?

4. Result of the above, at least in my not so humble opinion, is underrated and, in the very long run, precedes occasional brilliance in the bidding, opening lead, and declarer play all combined in its value.

5. Of course, upon due reflection, even if one feels as strongly as our group about the horror of leading the diamond king (I do not, although thinking it is only a not so unreasonable alternative), the only beastly play, although not so promoted in the column, especially while defending 4 hearts was the diamond queen when declarer naturally got around to leading a diamond back to dummy.

6. Perhaps W. S Gilbert knew more about winning bridge than any of us thought when his appropriate quote might have been describing West’s diamond queen rise in very ugly terms while defending four (not three), hearts.

7. And yes, likely the most poignant lesson to come from this hand (parable and all) is perhaps some of the worst plays (mostly defense) are made after some earlier decision by the defense goes awry, likely exaggerated because of the negative emotion created at the time.

bobbywolffMay 8th, 2020 at 5:18 pm

Hi Jim2,

You forgot the ending to the AJ10 in declarer’s hand, also a singleton in dummy with plenty of trump present to ruff out, usually at trick 2, your queen in order for declarer to say bye, bye to one of his thought to be, losers.

TOCM TM, in only one of its glorious forms!

bobbywolffMay 9th, 2020 at 5:07 am

Hi still, Jim2,

Final tally, at least in diamonds, NS=5 hcps, EW=5 hcps, bad guys=2 tricks, good guys=0.