Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 9th, 2020


Iain ClimieOctober 23rd, 2020 at 9:19 am

HI Bobby,

At the risk of being an appalling cynic, on BWTA the choice may depend on partner too. Imagine you’re opposite somebody weak, open 1C and he/she bids 1S. 2N covers more bases here, as partner can use Stayman (5 card or normal) and you get the hand right-sided.



Robert LiptonOctober 23rd, 2020 at 12:27 pm

Bobby calls this the best shot, and he is right. Yet a different layout still leads to down 1: imagine east’s hand is KTxx KJxxx x Kxx. Now declarer is limited to 8 tricks.


Jeff SOctober 23rd, 2020 at 2:25 pm

I’m sorry, but the last paragraph lost me completely.

Iain ClimieOctober 23rd, 2020 at 3:58 pm

HI Jeff S,

Imagine S has Dxx not As when he will lead small to the 10 and then either take a second finesse or play for the drop and West’s Jx falls. If West plays the DJ South can only afford to win if West has DQJx so may decide to duck and assume West has messed up with QJx x then take a second finesse. You get something similar if declarer has xx opposite AJ109x in 3N with no side entry. If West has Qxx playing the Q kills the suit. East can duck if West plays low but then South has one extra trick.



bobbywolffOctober 23rd, 2020 at 5:27 pm

Hi Iain,

Appreciate your apprehension.

Since professional bridge raised it’s head and not only became reality, it has, at least until this disastrous pandemic emerged, grown mightily
in frequency.

However, your subject is very common, and no doubt, tends to have a negative effect on the quality of our beloved game.

Going further, that problem of always attempting to be declarer, comes in all shapes and sizes and while doing so is likely an intelligent way to get better results, but, is not what others may think is somewhat flexible, but in fact, only distorts.

No doubt (at least IMO), you speak correctly, but if there is a cure, I do not know what it is.

bobbywolffOctober 23rd, 2020 at 5:40 pm

Hi Robert,

Yes, you are possibly correct, but East then needs to be up to not winning the first diamond trick and then, after EW passes that first hurdle West needs to be ultra careful in what he discards when declarer ultimately cashes the next two high diamonds in dummy.

bobbywolffOctober 23rd, 2020 at 5:47 pm

Hi Jeff S,

Because of our somewhat confusing determination of when comments arrive, I do not know for sure, whether Iain’s answer fit your question or instead missed your intention..

If it does not, please amplify and someone will oblige.

JeffSOctober 24th, 2020 at 5:13 pm

I was just wondering why I have to worry about West having the QD when it is in the South hand. We are talking about an alternate hand here?

bobbywolffOctober 27th, 2020 at 2:07 pm

Hi Jeff S,

No, after re-reading the subject hand, even though the DQ is, as you say, in the South hand, the line of play of leading a low diamond to the jack is the correct one, while playing either rubber bridge or IMPs.

Every now and then, our challenging game offers options as to what the best play for that contract really is, with the hand this day a golden example.

Read closely and understand the complete declarer line of play, not the apparent diamond finesse, which appears ridiculous, but in fact, is right-on
in offering the best play for 3NT, although not for overtricks, but for taking only the nine tricks required for a make.

Bridge can be a strange game, but that originality, IMO adds to, rather than subtracts from.

I hope you eventually agree, but to do so, you will need to compare a normal way to play diamonds as against the way suggested, with the intention of scoring it up, in spite of the unlucky diamond break.

Good luck with your wrestling through it.