Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, May 14th, 2020


Iain ClimieMay 28th, 2020 at 2:38 pm

HI Bobby,

Isn’t the lesson from today partly based on Andy Robson’s BOLS tip I.e. play a pre-empter who leads his own suit for a singletons trim. OK that doesn’t count if that player has AK of his suit but it is still a fair point. Brave (if slightly lucky) play by South but as you say he had a better alternative.



bobbywolffMay 28th, 2020 at 4:34 pm

Hi Iain,

Yes, either directly or perhaps, in this case, indirectly, Andy Robson’s BOLs liquor tip (written long ago) of a pre-empter (especially a vulnerable one) who doesn’t lead a side suit (indicating a singleton) will then likely have a singleton trump since if having a 7-2-2-2 distribution, does not offer as many declaring advantages as would a side suit singleton and therefore is not made as often (at least at the three level or higher).

Another possible psychological indication might be the length of time West took before deciding to lead the “risky” jack of spades, which in turn, depending on how experienced declarer viewed West, as to how long it took himself to choose 3NT, possibly deciding more quickly if he, South, indeed had both the Ace and queen of spades.

No doubt, these side bouts of playing and bidding psychology, are major factors in card placement by both sides and should always be taken into consideration in “guessing” what to do in the play and, of course, from both pairs.

Result, at least to me, ranks bridge (especially when played at a high level) as the greatest mind game, if for no other reason, as the number of difficult close decisions, which are often determined by both partnerships during an interesting hand which almost always includes crucial crossroads (sometimes at matchpoints for only an overtrick).

Of course, like most complicated bridge hands, there are other factors, which often lead to different, more likely handling and because of that, in this case the possibility of the singleton 10 of trumps, might convince this expert declarer of seeking what we consider the better alternative.

Iain ClimieMay 28th, 2020 at 5:38 pm

Hi Bobby,

Shades of the %age play with AKJ10xx opposite xx for no losers. As Qxxx onside is 4 times as likely as Q alone offside you should naturally take the first round finesse, %-wise. When this walks into the odd case of Q alone offside (2.8% I think), it is terribly helpful if partner doesn’t say “Couldn’t you have played the Ace first …”

Silence is golden at times, although “Hard luck, right play” will do.


bobbywolffMay 28th, 2020 at 6:48 pm

Hi Iain,

Almost spectacularly said with only being rivalry challenged with, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, rather than to speak out and remove all doubt”.

Perhaps losing a friend, but at best, is he?