Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, May 4th, 2020


A V Ramana RaoMay 18th, 2020 at 10:38 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Perhaps South should have led low diamond from dummy after winning heart K. He can be sure that if West wins the trick, he cannot do any damage as another heart lead will promote J and on any other lead, south has tempo. Now, an average east player holding doubleton K might hop up with K ( in which case, south’s play goes in vain but as can be observed, he is no worse off than coming to hand and finesse in diamonds) but certainly there would be some good players who might play low ( and of course regret later) Perhaps a shot worth trying

Iain ClimieMay 18th, 2020 at 1:59 pm

Hi Bobby,

Another point with leading the HQ is that declarer might have 10xx and duck the first heart, then the H9 as well. After all, If West has HQJ9x and the DK then he has to do that. If South has HJ10x though, then leading the Q is no worse than leading the H9 and see it rolling round to declarer’s hand.



Iain ClimieMay 18th, 2020 at 2:07 pm

AS a follow up, if West leads HA then H9 which red honour should declarer hope is right bearing in mind that West hasn’t found the surround play? Against a good west, South might play for him NOT to have AQx in that case and hope the D finesse is right.


bobbywolffMay 18th, 2020 at 3:37 pm

Hi AVRR & Iain,

Between the two of you, most all reasonable alternatives are discussed, with the inherent logic and mind set needed, disclosed.

In the end, probably like a results teacher should, the only legitimate way, at the death, to defeat the hand is for West to switch to the heart queen., playing partner for the ten or jack. However, still another, but still wildly possible likely heart combination (the threat of West having the QJ9 of hearts, East only the ace and declarer, South the ten, with declarer also either holding the king of diamonds or perhaps guessing well while holding only a singleton small (declarer: s. AKxxxx(x), h. 10xx, d. x, c. Qx(x).

Our beautiful game, together with my advanced age often reminds me of a long ago radio show called “Truth or Consequences” when Ralph Edwards, the very popular host, often, when announcing the cost of a losing guest’s fate, bellowed out, “Aren’t we devils”!

If, instead while defending this hand and, of course, if declarer ducked both the queen and then a small heart, allowing East to win the jack and fire back a small one to partner’s ace, West can, at the very least, think, but probably shouldn’t say, especially while being a smaller male to a larger muscular declarer, the same thing.