Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, May 12th, 2020


David SnookMay 26th, 2020 at 7:35 pm


Today was one of those days when I solve the problem w/out having to read your explanation, Mr. Wolff.

To me, the key is the A-10 D in the north hand and the K-J D in the south hand. Once declarer has stripped spades and hearts from the opponents and put either hand on lead by playing the K of hearts, E & W are forced to either give N & S a ruff and sluff or lead into diamonds.

I know that’s your explanation, in the end, and I was able to figure that out before reading it! This time!

Iain ClimieMay 26th, 2020 at 9:59 pm

Hi David,

Many congratulations on your Eureka moment but don’t do what Archimedes is supposed to have done after his!

Such things can rebound though. Mnay, many years ago I played with a highly intelligent (Cambridge University degree and Masters in Chemistry), cultured and funny player called Mike Summers-Smith at Coventry bridge club in England. He was a keen student of the game and its advanced concepts while I was a bit of a youthful hooligan at the table but had a fair feel for the game. One evening things were going well and everything I tried came off, finishing with a stepping stone squeeze which I played without really thinking about the hand – the pays just felt right and it worked. See Terence Reese’s The Expert Game for details. He congratulated me through clenched teeth for casually pulling off a coup he’d studied for years but never had the chance to play. Nice guy though; sadly his dad’s obituary was in the national papers this week. His father was a nationally and internationally renowned ornithologist specialising in the humble sparrow; his dad’s intelligence, humour and charm rubbed off on the son too.

I hope you’re keeping well and don’t mind the digression.



bobbywolffMay 26th, 2020 at 10:36 pm

Hi David,

First, welcome to Aces On Bridge (AOB) and then, of course, your talent in finding the solution to the problem in today’s hand.

Yes, where both the ten and jack of diamonds (present with North and South), made the final solution 100% in the execution once both all three of the outstanding trumps were not lumped in only one hand. That is, after declarer had used the right bridge technique, in eliminating the other suits.

However, even if the ten of diamonds was held by EW, or even instead, just the jack (along, of course, with the queen), the same type of play might have been a winning percentage choice to take, if, in fact, the right combination in diamonds, is also present.

One of the joys of high-level bridge concerns itself with detective work (often deciding the better ways to play card combinations) and not forgetting how important critical techniques in creating the right end positions to execute winning endings.

With playing the cards, both offensively and while defending, often demands that all three active players (excluding the dummy, who only has a rooting interest) into the intellectual pursuit of first examining where the adverse cards may be lurking and then following a plan to take maximum advantage of that knowledge.

For anyone who craves to play the most complete and challenging game ever, learning to play good, much less very good bridge, merely takes a clear head which is both logical and willing to keep up with the evidence presented which frequently occurs and with almost every trick.

Result being very satisfying when successful, but even when not, feeling like (at the death), that next time a chance is given, I’ll be better prepared to follow through correctly.

Thanks again for your post and always feel welcome to ask any and all questions since this site is composed of many ultra good players who will hardly ever, after the fact, not be right on with what should have been done, even if another play or bid would have worked out better.

bobbywolffMay 26th, 2020 at 11:27 pm

Hi Iain,

Thanks for the European history lesson to which I always feel a need to brush up, but not without, at least thinking, that the lowly sparrow once became famous for confessing to a murder of no less a bird than “Cock Robin”.

Perhaps he could have claimed it to be justifiable, or maybe instead, he became just slightly cuckoo.

And as for Archimedes, if he had been born lately (instead of a couple of thousand years ago), he, if introduced to bridge, would no doubt have brought much science, not to mention superior mathematics, to the table.