Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, May 25th, 2020


David WarheitJune 8th, 2020 at 9:31 am

Simple? Maybe not. When S plays the S9 at trick 3, W casually ducks! Now what?

Bobby WolffJune 8th, 2020 at 12:21 pm

Hi David,

If you are auditioning for the role of spider, who invited his breakfast fly to come into his parlor, and may easily win his battle with me (and likely others).

However, if West has the temerity to duck declarer’s nine of spades, especially in reasonably quick tempo, it would be necessary for declarer to either bang down the ace of spades (not recommended), but instead give up a heart trick and hope to either, at the death, have a heart spade (and possibly include diamond) squeeze or play for the 3-3 heart break which will indeed break West’s heart when it does work.

However, your brilliancy in offering your bridge (real water crossing one) for sale and convince declarer to then lead a low spade back to the ten, playing for East to hold the entire spade marriage, he will be disappointed, especially at shock time when the otherwise possible spade diamond squeeze (East held the diamond length) will not materialize, nor of course, be expected.

However your devious effort, especially if successful, will no doubt, acquire what bridge often does, acquire another coup with an identifiable name, with this one “another man, done in by a lady in waiting”.

Mircea GiurgeuJune 8th, 2020 at 8:14 pm


I’m not sure what to understand from your reply to David (English is my second language), but is there any merit in West ducking on the first round of spades?

jim2June 8th, 2020 at 9:36 pm

Mircea Giurgeu –

I am not Our Host.

Declarer’s communications are fragile on this hand, and ducks can often work in such cases.

As Our Host said, there are ways to succeed after the duck.

I think the simplest may be to:

– unblock the clubs with two rounds, ending on Board
– lead small spade, prepared to finesse if East follows small again (from, say, KQxx), but win KS with AS
– lead small spade towards 10S on Board.

West must win or declarer cashes out for 12 tricks. The produces the following 6-card ending (with West on lead):



If West returns a spade or diamond, declarer wins in hand, cashes the rest of the closed hand tricks, and then uses the Board’s high heart to reach the club tops.

If West returns a heart of club (if he had one), declarer wins on the Board, cashes the rest of the Board’s winners, and then uses the top diamond to reach the closed hand’s top spade.

Bobby WolffJune 8th, 2020 at 10:13 pm

Hi Mircea,

In short, as David implied and Jim2 amplified, when entries are in short supply to declarer, (can also be true for the defense), best percentage card combinations (assuming when a finesse is taken into a likely lone honor (West holding Qxxx) and West declines, declarer may now look to that trick as indicative that East holds both the King and the Queen. Thus, because of the shortage of entries, a low spade might be led to the ten and then the lone entry be used to return for a winning finesse for the Queen, but when the 3rd spade is led from dummy declarer will know he has been had since East will, of course, show out.

The rest of both Jim2’s and my post are various ways of continuing the declarer play, after West has ducked the first spade, giving other posters the opportunity to analyze what they think the better play from then.

Much ado about either something or nothing, as this opportunity might offer.

MirceaJune 9th, 2020 at 3:51 am

Thank you Bobby and and Jim2 for the clarification. I learned something new (to me).