Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 20th, 2020


ClarksburgAugust 3rd, 2020 at 6:18 pm

Hello Bobby

After an unobstructed auction, you are Declarer in Four Spades.
Dummy K1065 K5 K9765 A10
South AQ974 J82 J104 K9
The lead is CQ
It’s from a Club game. Four of six Declarers were off 1.
Could you kindly provide your thoughts on how to initially plan the play

ClarksburgAugust 3rd, 2020 at 6:21 pm

The defenders hands were:
West J8 10974 AQ832 Q7
East 32 AQ63 void J865432
All Declarers received a friendly lead (not a Diamond)

bobbywolffAugust 3rd, 2020 at 7:42 pm

Hi Clarksburg,

No doubt those four declarer’s failed to allow entries back to hand to repeat the first diamond finesse and paid a dear price for it.

Without a diamond lead, usually the ace and then another, this hand has to be badly played to not make it and for 4 out of 6 tables to go set is proof of careless declarer’s play. With the trumps being 2-2, it is difficult to understand what happened except to surmise that the declarer went asleep while at the switch.

Of course, when first declarer confronts the hand, he does not know that the key queen of diamonds is onside, making the heart play or guess (if West leads a low one) a possible albatross. However, even with the heart honors unfriendly, declarer must have mishandled this hand from the beginning, showing an unwanted and inexcusable carelessness.

However, it is good for bridge learning to discuss exactly what must have happened so that this episode becomes an excellent learning experience, worth discussing (even though possibly embarrassing for too many).

Good luck with your teaching intentions as you certainly are blessed with plenty of grist for the mill.

bobbywolffAugust 3rd, 2020 at 8:09 pm

Hi Clarksburg,

Speaking of getting careless, I failed to take note, of who had the nine of diamonds, making me the chief buffoon far ahead in blame, in front of the four failed declarers.

The likely winning play for declarer on this hand is after drawing trump to lead a small diamond from hand, hoping declarer will take the bait and rise with his ace instead of arising with the ace or simply inserting the nine, although for declarer to play anything but the king, if West totally ducked, would indeed be strange.

An attempt to throw East in with a heart (after eliminating the clubs would fail since he could cash his other high heart and get out with a heart).

Good problem and apologies, especially to the failed declarers, but also to the readers of my first answer, for my ridiculous invalid response.

bobbywolffAugust 3rd, 2020 at 8:40 pm

Hi again,

SorrY, I was right the first time, dummy, not West had the nine of diamonds, so please forget what I wrote the second time, since once the diamond finesse works 4 spades makes, losing two hearts and one diamond.

Much ado about nothing and apologies to all who were in my path.