Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, September 10th, 2020


David WarheitSeptember 24th, 2020 at 10:20 am

After S wins D10, he returns a D which E wins with Q. E can safely exit with C3, but S wins and leads his last D. W wins, but now what? He can safely cash another D but then if he cashes the last D, E is triple squeezed, and if he doesn’t, S can safely lose a C to E, either way making 3NT. Since this line also works if H are 3-3 or C 2-2 and since S knows along with E that W has at most 5 D, it is a better line than the one actually adopted.

A V Ramana RaoSeptember 24th, 2020 at 1:02 pm

Hi David
Very well done. Congrats. The only way south could lose is if West had a six card diamond suit but from the lead, it is clear that he can have only five diamonds. But , honestly, how many south players will find that play and even before that just how many east players would play Q instead of inserting nine obviating the need to find the elegant diamond play . Let us hear from our host

bobbywolffSeptember 24th, 2020 at 3:09 pm

Hi David & AVRR,

Starting out, I will wholeheartedly agree with AVRR that David came up with indeed a brilliancy, the breadth of which, knows no bounds, with almost no bridge play, actual or contrived, as downright thrilling to simply just be the hero.

However with the stage being the World Bridge Championship (hopefully to still emerge after the pandemic has released its fangs) and West being an imaginative opening leader while holding: s .J7, h.753, d. AQ8432, c. J7 leaving East with s. Q96542, h. J108, d. 96, c. Q10.

Can we all just imagine the following conversation immediately after the last card is played with South going one down in 3NT?

South: “Aren’t you two playing 4th best leads vs. NT, to which West replied, “We used to for 30 years, but just last week we switched to 3rd and 5th. BTW, and FWIIW, it is correct on our Convention Card.

North then came up with the answer by applying very soothing conversation, “No matter, partner, their opponents at the other table will play 6NT since both hearts and clubs break and would have made 13 tricks on a spade diamond squeeze, if, of course East, not west, would have held the diamond ace”.

For whatever reason, South somehow still kept his scowl!

However David, nothing of any value can take away from your brilliancy.

Iain ClimieSeptember 24th, 2020 at 5:51 pm

Hi Bobby, David AVRR,

Very nice indeed from David but the option of false cards on opening leads is often missed especially if partner can’t be fooled. Imagine you hold AK842 10xx Ax Kxx after 1N on your right (P) 3N on your left; why not lead the S2? The club finesse may be working of course but, assuming neither opponent has more than 3 spades, declarer will surely opt for safely knocking out the DA to get his 9 tricks if he doesn’t need the C finesse. It is less likely to work in the minor (CAK82 doesn’t appeal much relative to (say) xxx(x) in a major) but you never know.

As The Rime of the Ancient Mariner might say here “A sadder and a wiser man he rose the morrow morn” (or something like that, the last line about the wedding guest whom the Mariner collars).



bobbywolffSeptember 24th, 2020 at 10:18 pm

Hi Iain,

A shout of joy will be heard when the final contract falls like a bird. And even when the cards are received, but are then cleverly deceived.

However the dummy can console his partner by informing him that even if he had fulfilled his 3NT that his teammates had allowed NS to bid and make 6NT at the other table since the EW distribution was West holding s. 107, h. 753,
d. AQ8432, c. 103 and East, s. Q96542, h. J108,
d. 96, c. Q10, declarer scoring up 2 spades, 5 hearts, and 5 clubs, but were powerless to defeat it.

Tricks, tricks everywhere but not a drop to spare.

A small consolation, but well timed.

AviSeptember 25th, 2020 at 12:13 pm

I wish I will someday rise to the level of knowing to put up the club Q to swallow partners possible J.

So much focus on declarer plays in most books and columns, but statistically, we play defence 50% of the time.
Thanks for the focus on defence this week.
Bobby, can you suggest some defence books to improve my skills?

bobbywolffSeptember 25th, 2020 at 7:05 pm

Hi Avi,

No doubt, the more knowledgeable and experience you get, the luckier you will be.

Sadly, I’ve been taking a break from keeping up with all the new books (good and not so), but ask around and likely someone worthy of doing so will come to your rescue and recommend either a book or at the least, the right author to choose. GOOD LUCK!

For a very old pick I would suggest “Winning Defence” by British author, John Brown, written around 1939.