Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 29th, 2020


Iain ClimieAugust 12th, 2020 at 10:53 am

Hi Bobby,

Punishment for either greed or innumeracy (he could always have used fingers and thumbs to get to 10 after all) but do the ruffing finesse positions you mention work if East takes the first heart?



bobbywolffAugust 12th, 2020 at 1:29 pm

Hi Iain,

Most decidedly no, when East would then violate his likely first learned bridge lesson and go second hand low, when East led the jack of hearts from dummy and did not rise with his king when declarer offered the jack of hearts from dummy, leading to his now singleton queen.

If, in fact. East didn’t rise to the occasion, it would represent an “Alphonse and Gaston” act of “you take it, no, I’ll take it, no, you take it” losing the contract by not responding to this exception to that popular, but too often not applicable correct play.

Going a key step further, and as declarer, it is often necessary to count one’s affirmative tricks, rather than to instead restrict one’s losers, if by so doing, the former makes the hand, while the latter comes up short.

Another vital fact to learn, is that while a mathematician is correct if he states, 2+2, 3+1 and 4+0 all equal four, but when haphazardly counting immediate losers, rather than enough winners, that same mathematician has room to improve his bridge.

Thanks for reminding me to add more detail, if for no other reason, than to delve deeper into a common shortcoming, usually for declarer, but also likely in rarer times, for the defense.

Iain ClimieAugust 12th, 2020 at 3:28 pm

HI Bobby,

West’s failure to lead a heart might tip off East here. Why else hasn’t he done as requested, especially as he raised?


bobbywolffAugust 12th, 2020 at 3:56 pm

Hi Iain,

“Methinks there is much reason in what he said”,

Quotes First Citizen, in response to Mark Antony’s stirring eulogy following the murder of Julius Caesar, at least according to the “Bard”.

Iain ClimieAugust 12th, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Hi Bobby

That’s one of the many, many things I like about this site – the quotes whether daily or in reply to comments. Thanks!


David SAugust 12th, 2020 at 7:08 pm

Hi Bobby

Looking at this hand, I’m wondering what happens if South plays another club following the king and throws the 2nd heart he’s holding on it, not caring who wins that trick?

I don’t know if I’m fooling myself and I’ve tried the different paths the hand could proceed down after the opening up to that point (following the the 3 card start in the description of play provided) and it seems like South can make his bid this way.

Am I wrong?

bobbywolffAugust 12th, 2020 at 9:54 pm

Hi David,

Once declarer has allowed East to win the 3rd club trick with his nine, he would then continue clubs and I believe, in the fullness of time, there would be four defensive tricks for EW.

The combination of the 97 (or, I think 9x of spades) with West becomes a two edged sword, since sooner or later the defense will take one club, one overruff, the ace of diamonds and another diamond or even a second trick (because of the favorable trump overruff position with West) plus a club and the ace of diamonds.

Try it again and one thing will be sure, one of the two of us will be right. No doubt an awkward hand to just explain, much less to try and successfully play.

David SAugust 13th, 2020 at 8:03 pm

Thank you for the explanation…

I will go back and try it again.

I really enjoy your column, Bobby…

Whatever the hand of the day is, I play it every morning as I eat breakfast.