Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, May 29th, 2020


Iain ClimieJune 12th, 2020 at 9:33 am

HI Bobby,

Single dummy, what do you make of South’s play? I can’t helping feeling that a weaker player would have taken the D finesse, ruffed the second spade, played a diamond to the Ace, winced, then taken the club finesse and bingo. Ruffing a club even without the false card needs C3-2 Or stiff Q plus D not 4-1 unless DK drops. 5-0 in either minor is just unmanageable.

Any thoughts here? It is a classic “Plan the play” hand just looking at 26 cards.



Bruce KarlsonJune 12th, 2020 at 10:25 am

Clearly missing something. ( candidate for the oxymoron of the day?). After the Club Q drops, why not ruff the 3rd club with the Q, an oblique finesse against the K? If it wins -, take the A and come back to hand ruffing S. Play one round of trumps and then play Clubs until W ruffs. If the Q is a true card, the downside is limited, methinks, to the precise distribution in the example..

Iain ClimieJune 12th, 2020 at 12:38 pm

HI Bruce,

When you lead the 3rd club you don’t need to ruff as the Q has appeared and West discards (if he ruffs in, life gets easy). Now what after the CJ holds? A D to the Q is a disaster today but could easily be right although if D are 3-2 then DA and then Q to unblock is fine. If D are 4-1 you’re in trouble regardless unless the DK is singleton.

I’m going to be very interested in Bobby’s suggestion here.



A V Ramana RaoJune 12th, 2020 at 2:27 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Perhaps declarer’s play was not the best. The club ruff is not going to achieve much and there is a chance that the second club might get ruffed. As can be seen, south can avoid losing a trump trick only if West held singleton or doubleton K or East held a singleton K. So the percentage play is for leading low trump from hand and when K does not appear from West, to put up A and continue with Q so that after defense wins K, ruff the spade return , collect trumps and can take a call for playing clubs. But as K falls on A of diamonds, south makes his contract comfortably as he can come to hand with a top club, collect trumps and if he opts for club finesse running ten from dummy after drawing trumps, there is an overtrick too . However, I request your opinion on the suggested line of play.

Bobby WolffJune 12th, 2020 at 3:57 pm

Hi Iain, Bruce & AVRR,

Except for my column gaffe of claiming 13 tricks instead of losing one diamond, but still maintaining control of making the diamond small slam (instead of an overtrick), I tend to agree with leading clubs first, with the intention of ruffing them good when they are 3-2, but the queen not dropping.

When, and if that occurs, declarer becomes a solid favorite to manage trumps with only 1 diamond trick lost. If instead, after Forrester (East) false carded the queen of clubs, declarer finessed the queen of diamonds (leading to his losing control of trumps, always a no, no to avoid) for fear of West starting with Kx of diamonds to go with his presumed three small clubs, then allowing West to give East the setting trick with a club ruff.

No doubt, and proving the proverb of the tangled web weaved when we practice to deceive.

However, and no doubt, that tangled web, at least this time, defeated this slam with the admonition of perhaps in bridge and, of course, done under the right circumstances, our beloved game is sometimes an exception to that tangled web, likely becoming a loser.