Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, August 20th, 2020


jim2September 3rd, 2020 at 11:17 am

I am not going to assert that the text line might not be the expert one.

With that disclaimer (along with the fact that I am NOT an expert), there is no way in either Lower OR Upper Slobovia that I would play the hand that way. Yes, I would win the trump opening lead in hand cheaply, and win the second trick with a club honor, but there I part ways.

I would advance the 10H from the board, fully intending to ruff at least two hearts. That would give me 8 tricks with many chances at at least one more. In the actual layout, the fortuitous heart honors placement and length would seem to be enough, but there are others.

Iain ClimieSeptember 3rd, 2020 at 12:39 pm

HI Jim2,

With your luck East would smoothly duck the H10 which you’d probably run, and West plays another trump. Now H ruff, C ruff, H ruff (good news), C ruff and the HQ stands up! 5D in hand, 2 ruffs, 1 club and 1H see you home despite TOCM – except the cards wouldn’t lie that way then… West would probably have a single trump and HKJ9xx or similar.



A V Ramana RaoSeptember 3rd, 2020 at 1:05 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff, Jim2 and lain
I too would go after hearts after winning club in dummy( I thought of posting earlier but somehow did not but after seeing Jim2 and lain’s posts, I am not able to resist) . If east wins the heart, only return without doing any damage is a spade and that is what declarer too wants to play . West wins and returns trump but now South can ruff two hearts while ruffing two clubs in hand , draw the outstanding trump and exit with spade. Even if hearts honor does not appear, West may be left with a spade and forced to concede a trick after cashing A of clubs but as such, the heart honor falls making life easy for declarer and if east ducks, West can win and return a trump but again, south ruffs two hearts in dummy and two clubs in hand hoping either club A to fall or hearts to be favorable

bobbywolffSeptember 3rd, 2020 at 3:24 pm

Hi Jim2, Iain, AVRR, & Alter Ego,

All four of you agree with me that hearts need to start being played early. although it is indeed tempting to not rise with the king of diamonds at trick one, but rather have the lead slide to hand so that a club can be led, for both fluidity and for what happened, West had to duck, which then would allow at least two heart ruffs in dummy, because of an extra immediate entry (via club ruff(s) back and forth.

However, if anyone can prove mathematically what is unequivocally the right line, you will immediately jump to the head of a likely very long line while competing for top dog in most every type of bridge analysis, that is, if it in fact can be proven (keeping in mind the opening lead of a trump and, of course, why it is being led).

No doubt, all five of us (don’t forget AE) agree to duck in dummy at trick one, allowing an unfortunate tempo, brought about by the lack of an immediate entry to hand for as many heart ruffs as we all would like.

When it is said in the column that allowing the first diamond to come to hand is not unreasonable, we probably all agree, especially when West not East shows up with the club ace, but when trying (likely 99% in vain) to establish the most successful percentage way to attack this hand, it most necessarily must rely on feel rather than any, to be proven, alternative.

Finally, although totally shying away from guessing what to do, it could be financially a good (and profitable) idea for Jim2 to have played this hand first, since, by doing so, the entrepreneur of this new business, will immediately be given a gift of how that or any other chosen line of play (by our hero) would have met its downfall.

At the very least we could, and then should, have remembered Ralph Edwards (MC of a long ago American radio show named Truth or Consequences) when, after the victim guest has fallen heir to paying the piper, then said, “Aren’t we devils”?

However, when relating the above, I fail to realize the less tender ages, who were still in their cribs (or their parents dream) when the above event was going on.

All the above is nonsense as well, at least to me, of even attempting to figure out what is the best line for declarer after that “lucky lead” by declarer’s LHO.