Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, August 8th, 2020


jim2August 22nd, 2020 at 11:30 am

A couple notes on the club suit in this hand:

1) I believe in the column text that “club jack” should have been “club queen,” and
2) The play of the club suit omits some details (doubtless due to space considerations)

On #2 (above), the column does not indicate where the lead was on the first round of the suit. Presumably, declarer played small from the Board and East rose with the king, for fear that declarer held the club jack. It turns out, however, that it does not matter!

Say, instead, that declarer advances the 10 C. If West covers and the Board’s QC goes to the KC, then the QC is not available at the end. However, even the lowest club spot in the deck suffices to win the fourth round, as West was dealt only three cards in the suit and East was squeezed out of two of his/her starting five cards.

Thus, declarer could have played all the clubs from the top and let the 2C take the last trick.

bobbywolffAugust 22nd, 2020 at 11:57 am

Hi Jim2,

As usual, your proof reading is decidedly better than mine.

Add to that the club deuce, with you in charge, will take the slam making trick and it becomes fit for Darvas’ great book where all 52 cards speak up to have their day.

The closest I can come to describing your value in bridge is that if you were an octopus and only a few of your tentacles suffered from TOCM TM, you would still be the best bridge playing octopus in history.

Furthermore you deserve that ink and, like today’s hand, squeezes would be duck soup, but only for you.

A V Ramana RaoAugust 22nd, 2020 at 1:09 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
A very subtle defense needed from east requiring quite a bit of thought and definitely those who can think will stay at the top. If only West had club length with a honor the slam could have been easily defeated. Perhaps the diamond slam is a bit of a stretch by NS ( missing for certain an A and not sure about any side suit running)

A V Ramana RaoAugust 22nd, 2020 at 1:26 pm

But again, had North become declarer, east would invariably have led a top club and now declarer sails home without any difficulty ( my earlier remarks notwithstanding) Bridge is a fascinating game

jim2August 22nd, 2020 at 2:17 pm

At the Virtual Slush Cup, top honors on this Board went to the Wests who took advantage of the vulnerability to preempt in hearts.

North made a negative double for the minors, and the Easts upped the ante.

South, chary of a speculative minor suit game score, decided to double, and (with North staring at the trump ace) that’s where things settled out.

Inevitably, North led his partner’s suit, and E-W soon wrapped up ten tricks. Usually, West did a ruffing finesse through South, but at least one bold West pickled North’s QC.

The absolute top, thus, went to 4H doubled, followed by 5H doubled down one.

bobbywolffAugust 22nd, 2020 at 3:27 pm

Hi AVRR & Jim2,

Both of you waste time by sticking by too much realism in our game, instead of the razzle-dazzle fairy tales we all love.

However a slam which virtually needs no opening lead ruff plus only a 2-1 division of a suit (trumps) instead of 3-0 cannot be too much to expect, and then to still almost legitimately making it, does not deserve much criticism from
the gallery.

However, yes, especially at the Slush Cup, a wild preempt while holding Qxxxxx might produce the winner, but not everyone thinks that as bridge to be admired, but it definitely should get the attention of those who are so much against what they would surely call wild efforts to distort.

If so, perhaps they might try it and when they begin to like their results, particularly against some of the best players (change that to coldest players) in the room, they may begin to consider following suit with them.

Jeff SAugust 22nd, 2020 at 5:24 pm

With apologies to Jim2 and, of course, Victor Mollo…

I was too busy yesterday to read the column, but I too was in the bar that day. After Jim left, the Toucan showed up looking forlorn, no doubt due to a series of absolute bottoms. He perked up when he saw the hand the Hog had been showing to Jim. “Oh, yes! That was a tricky one!”. The Hog just growled leaving it to me to ask Timothy how he had played the hand.

It transpired that Timothy had drawn trump, ruffed two spades and, only now, saw he had no way back to the long spade. Well, bad luck, nothing to be done, down one, but hardly his fault. So, he cashed the KD…

“Just goes to show what can happen when you make the most of your chances. Turns out the long spade was not even needed. And”, he concluded proudly, “I was doubled!”. The poor Hog was so disconsolate he barely took the time to down my drink before stalking off.

bobbywolffAugust 22nd, 2020 at 7:30 pm

Hi Victor, scratch, Jeff S,

He didn’t have time to down your drink since, making his own last effort, he and his partner didn’t show their falling diamonds, stealthily returning them to the board and proclaimed down 1 to which his opponents conceded for fear of looking “out of it”.

When all else fails, try, try again was always the reason he was the HOG!

Yes, Timothy’s hypocritical and cocky rant was then denied, so chalk up another miracle, down one DOUBLED, was just the icing on the cake.

JeffSAugust 23rd, 2020 at 10:21 pm

LOL, Well done, Bobby. Point and match!

It reminds me of a similar situation in chess. When a position is repeated three times with the same player on move, a draw can be claimed, referred to a “draw by repetition”.

When a very strong player finds losing to a much weaker one, he will sometimes offer a draw which is often accepted by his intimidated opponent. This is somewhat cynically referred to as a “draw by reputation”.