Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 28th, 2020


bobbywolffSeptember 11th, 2020 at 1:05 pm

Hi Everyone,

A good lesson to be learned for an aspiring player is a thorough understanding of what happens when a 2nd seat defender, not only covers honors (often practically thought of as queens through tens), but also including even lowly eights when, by covering, while second seat, you, as a defender will be also establishing tricks much lower down the scale, but the immutable fact is that, by so doing, your second seat honor will cause a declarer to use up two of his higher cards (instead of just one), therefore establishing intermediates in partner’s hand.

The likely reason this knowledge is not usually discussed in bridge classes is that, first, often there are overriding reasons to save ones defensive high card for a better opportunity plus the practical one of, while on defense it is often close to impossible to predict partner’s exact holding, making playing second hand high a questionable tactic, not always the correct play, and, especially at times, difficult to distinguish.

IOW, good judgment by the defense needs to occur, meaning trying to look ahead as the play unfolds may help an alert defender to know what to do, when and if he is called on to make a key defensive play which often determines (or at least, contributes) to the result.

Very difficult to teach, especially new players who often begin wondering if he or she has bitten off more than he can chew. This, in turn has convinced bridge teachers or mentors to soft pedal hard to understand suit promotion since it almost always depends first, whether the hand in question needs to cover 8s, 9s and 10s (to develop a slow trick) or whether he needs to save his high card for a possible game denying defensive play by using it as a later entry to cash a setting trick.

The above testifies to the difficulty of the game, but one, which is picked up, along the way to improvement, by the simple experience of not only playing among good players with the correct partner who has similar desires to get better.

It DOES NOT magically occur overnight, but no one player, who has succeeded, usually makes a big issue of it. Subjects, such as the above are often not even discussed among the bridge elite, but all who have arrived at that lofty height, are aware of that crucial stage of development.

Patrick CheuSeptember 11th, 2020 at 4:40 pm

Hi Bobby,Not sure many will find the KS switch..on trick 3…do you think there’s any reason as to why any one might do so instead of a club? If that happens…’well done’ with clenched teeth if any..:D 😀 😀 regards Patrick

bobbywolffSeptember 11th, 2020 at 7:17 pm

Hi Patrick,

Not that it is anywhere near obvious to switch to the king of spades, we need to consider the bidding.

Declarer has not only bid hearts, but after winning the opening lead in dummy with the queen, he opted to attack hearts. West was probably hoping for a singleton spade with declarer (since his heart play indicated a 5 card suit, some length in diamonds and then likely short in at least one black suit. Perhaps a singleton queen, with partner having at least 4 of them and possibly 5.

No guarantees, but strong suspicions.

No doubt the opening leader had a choice to make and, at least to me, spades felt like the better risk than would clubs, but let the winner explain, not either of us, and let the devil take the hindmost.