Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 21st, 2020


A.V.Ramana RaoAugust 4th, 2020 at 9:30 am

Hi Dear Mr. Wolff
Perhaps south did not need the second club ruff. He should have realized that there are ten tricks available if both clubs and hearts broke normally ie hearts 3-2 and clubs 4-3 either way. So he should have unblocked spade A at second trick, ruffed a club, cash K of spade in dummy pitching a diamond, come to hand with a high heart ( eschewing the finesse) , cash the second high heart hoping for a 3-2 break , lead K of clubs and concede a club and claim ten tricks

bobbywolffAugust 4th, 2020 at 3:16 pm


Yes, as usual, you are correct in your analysis, but the question, as it most times becomes, what is the best percentage line?

With all defensive suits being as evenly divided as they could be, no declarer should be disappointed. However, while being so equal, they still presented a lethal division in what defender had both the the shortness, plus of course the crucial queen of trump.

Sometimes, and perhaps this hand is a good example, it is more efficient to vary from what looks natural to do as declarer in order to reach a less precarious ending. While it is difficult to sometimes look too far ahead, it may become careless not to seek out, after good luck early, a safer way to guard against a fairly normal, but still game deciding decision and instead, as declarer veer slightly off path, while giving an, at that time, up to date appraisal while about half through the play.

BTW, my fault for mixing up the ace and king of spades during the prose. If I expect the declarer to play all 13 tricks to best advantage, I should not set a poor example for not describing, nor correctly proof reading, by announcing the correct cards.

Thanks for your always eagle eye and taking your time to describe alternate choices which need to be, at the very least, seriously considered.

David WarheitAugust 4th, 2020 at 7:54 pm

I think Mr. Rao’s line is slightly better than anything else because not only does it work when both H & C break evenly, but also when H are 3-2 with doubleton Q and C are 5-2.

bobbywolffAugust 6th, 2020 at 11:52 pm

Hi David,

Yes, I agree with AVRR and you on what looks like the best line of play in 4 hearts.

However, although I have never been afraid to delve into basic arithmetic for percentage lines, it become very frightful for me to be sure of my not overlooking a key number which and, of course, becomes crucial in its determination.

I’ll leave that task to a computer, and add, let someone else take responsibility for its result.

However, I feel confident that between you two, we are in (please excuse) good hands.

Thanks to both of you for your time and effort.