Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, August 31st, 2020


Iain ClimieSeptember 14th, 2020 at 10:57 am

HI Bobby,

As the cards lie, although this blows a trick if East has CKxx, declarer can play CA then J after the 10 holds. Looking at all 52 cards makes life so much easier though.



jim2September 14th, 2020 at 11:14 am

Iain Climie –

I also would play it that way, even w/o seeing all the cards.

Declarer starts with at least 6 black tricks, and so needs only 3 red ones. The only real risk is that leading either red suit prematurely will gift the defense the tempo needed to establish extra tricks in THAT red suit.

Thus, winning the AS is fine, as is one club finesse. After that, however, I think declarer should play clubs from the top. If the defender that wins the KC attacks a red suit, declarer gain tricks in it w/o sacrificing a tempo and it simplifies developing the necessary game-going trick in the other.

Now, as a matter of technique, declarer might cash the other clubs first to force discards, especially if the defense simply persists in spades. This could reduce a long red suit risk and help declarer decide how to approach the red suits.

Iain ClimieSeptember 14th, 2020 at 1:40 pm

HI Jim2,

Looks pretty sensible and thanks for taking my glib comment sensibly further. At pars, though, you just know East will have HJ9x or AJx and CKxx.

Regards, and I hope you’re keeping well,


bobbywolffSeptember 14th, 2020 at 2:56 pm

Hi Iain & Jim2,

Between the two of you, my job is duck soup. I then, do not need to thread thoughtfully, but instead and like porcupines make love, VERY CAREFULLY!

Between the lines of both of you, there is a rumor that where Jim2 plays duplicate, his record belongs to Robert Ripley, He has never won one, in spite of also never having gone down in a single contract he declared.

However Iain has never lost one, since by only the powerful force of his will, has overcome his insistence of all necessary finesses and/or suits breaking well, will accompany his consistent overbidding.

However both of them, by their own sense of salvation, have now taken up tournament directing, with Iain handling the IMP KOs and Jim2 the matchpoint duplicates.

If you two will accept me saying so, no dummies, them! and to prove my point once lately, Iain had 12 solid hearts and a singleton spade opposite the AQ of spades in dummy and of course, having reached the cold grand slam, but received a low spade lead and, surprisingly he took a winning finesse. When asked why, he quickly replied, “No game is fun unless and until chances are taken”

while Jim2 in a different duplicate, but essentially the same hand with the same final contract, did rise with the ace, but got it ruffed with the thirteenth heart.

But please, regardless of your opinions about playing bridge, both of you, and all of our other friends and regulars on this site, please find a way to stay safe and also happy by doing it, for both your families and especially us, your bridge buddies.

Iain ClimieSeptember 14th, 2020 at 6:37 pm

Hi Bobby,

I have had the occasional dose of bad luck including one where I ran foul of a bad break. RHO opened 1D (Precision, may be very short with longer clubs) and I bulldozed my way into 7M (it was 1979, details are vague but I had a huge hand) instead of taking the money off their save. I had a possible diamond loser but bless partner – he had a singleton CA and the singleton trump 10 as an entry. I took the opening D lead, crossed to dummy, cashed the CA ditching the D and LHO ruffed – RHO had 0-0-1-12, so indeed had longer clubs – which were never bid. His partner had a huge number of D’s and didn’t see the joke.

More typical of my luck was A AKQJxxx AKQx x. RHO opens 1D (natural, we’re Vulnerable they’re not), I bid 4N (pard could have SA and RHI KQJ u both black suits), LHO 5S, Pass, 6C on my right so 6H, 6S on my left so I took the money. How does 6H fare? 4H goes off (!) if they get the defence right. RHO is 0-1-1-6 while partner has SQx and small card. S lead ruffed, D back ruffed, club to RHO’s Ace, another D back ruffed and the defence make their 3 trumps, partner having started with xxx.

IN 6S, declarer unwisely tried to pin the SQ instead of playing me for singleton Ace so went an extra one off.

Happy days (late 1970s)


bobbywolffSeptember 14th, 2020 at 11:01 pm

Hi Iain,

If each card could speak, as they did in Darvas’ “Right Through the Pack”, oh what a tale of both glory and woe could be had.

In quite a way bridge, particularly the more sophisticated variety, could tell some breathtaking adventures, some with good endings (at least for some, but not so, for others).

The one I remember most was a 176 board match, very close the whole way, and fairly well played as many matches tend to be. My partner, Bob Hamman and I finished a couple of boards before my teammates and after looking in at viewgraph saw that our team was about 8 IMPs behind with only two boards to play.

The bad news was that on the penultimate hand we bid a pedestrian 5 spades, off two aces, but laydown for 11 tricks and on the last hand, our Italian opponents bid a close 3NT and effectively made it on a finesse.

Obviously we lost, and my inclination was for my wife and me to head for our hotel room rather then face the music of just another horrible loss. We did, but some minutes later, Debby warned me about not being present for the congratulations to our opponents, so, as usual I minded, as I always tended to do.

Down we went to the mezzanine only to find out that our other room opponents (probably the best world bridge partnership ever and certainly composed of two of the best players ever to play this game, had bid 6 spades, down one on a misunderstanding and our pair, (Peter Weichel and Alan Sontag) also on the last hand bid the 3NT game making, allowing us to win by 5 IMPs.

This occurred in Stockholm, Sweden in 1983 and of course, will always be thought by me as one of the luckiest adventures in my rather long life, at least up to now.

Such are the good times, but life has a way, always guided by the law of averages, so that luck, over a lifetime, seems to even out.

Of course, the first moment of thanks was to go to Debby (my now late but still great wife) who suggested we go downstairs. Also, since it was the only time my father, than 87 years old, traveled with us and was the only time he had a chance to kibitz a World Championship.

Remembering the positive times is much more fun than all the other losses which seem to fight their way into one’s mind, despite not being embraced nor invited.

Learned experience: “Let the good times roll” as are many of your adventurous and exciting bridge stories.