Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, October 15th, 2020


Iain ClimieOctober 29th, 2020 at 6:37 pm

Hi Bobby,

If / when West plays a diamond, should he try the 5 rather than the 9? No point in telegraphing the position to declarer. Also, how much of a case is there for playing CA then another club after winning the first trump. The 6-1 break is a problem today (provided West ducks the second club of course) but it would surely be effective in many 4-3 breaks allowing a diamond (or heart) pitch and perhaps even two.



Iain ClimieLOctober 29th, 2020 at 8:23 pm

HI Bobby,

Two quick thoughts. When West switches to a diamond should he lead the 5 not the 9? Secondly, just looking at NS hands, is there a case for playing Acc after taking the first trump as it works all quite often (not today provided West ducks the CK)?



Iain ClimieOctober 29th, 2020 at 10:18 pm

HI Bobby,

Two quick questions. When west leads a diamond, is the 5 better than the 9, as the latter gives too clear a picture? Secondly, although it may not work too well today provided West doesn’t shoot in with the CK, is there a case for South just playing A and another club after winning the first trump?



bobbywolffOctober 30th, 2020 at 10:17 am

Hi Iain,

Bingo! You’ve directly hit the main difference between a friendly group of bridge players and ones, particularly later in the hand (midpoint or slightly later) where really top defenders become loath to provide a roadmap for declarer to then mow them down, based on normal correct carding leading to advantage declarer.

Yes, by all means the 5 of diamonds, feigning 3 or more, especially when it becomes critical tor declarer’s success to guess 3-3 or 4-2 in order to pickle the suit for the contract trick.

That ruse is made possible to the defense when several tricks have occurred allowing the defense to keep up with declarer as he makes his way (usually in somewhat slower tempo than normal) keeping defenders (or should) able to determine (by examining the diamond spots) the time emerging to when it will become a make or break guess in diamonds.

Of course, the declarer is also aware that the defense is his enemy, knows what is happening, and quite capable of not rolling over to declarer’s wishes to make it easy to guess. IOW,, cat and mouse activity to which the victor wins the spoils.

And quote while raving or instead “quote the Raven please guess wrong” as Edgar A. Poe might have, at the very least, if he played bridge, “Nevermore”!

Thanks for uncovering the hidden value of having to determine “at crunch time” the original distribution in order to “score it up” rather than, while throwing horseshoes, only having to come closer than the opponents to win.

bobbywolffOctober 30th, 2020 at 3:23 pm

Hi Iain,

When I answered your first question in the middle of the night, at least in this side of the pond, it was your second question above.

However and no never mind, yes, of course, it may be right to play ace and a club first, but since that combination could be played for no loser and besides that my suggestion works and yours doesn’t, the percentage play is difficult to impossible to guess.

When it is determined that there is more than one way to go about declaring a hand, my advice is let your instincts guide you and not try and move heaven and earth to prove it best, just do it.

Easy for me to say since my or our suggestion is just virtual, after seeing all the cards.

Sort of like cheating, but far from it, since at the very least all readers can then, like you are attempting, to foresee guidelines which may lead you and many others to guess right.

Perhaps, like a famous, long ago, (and bite your tongue) cigarette commercial, “its what up front that counts”, supposed to mean, executing your line of play to best and successful advantage, instead of perhaps that followed more realistically by, “to determine how long one lives”.

Enough of those painful memories.

Iain ClimieOctober 30th, 2020 at 4:53 pm

HI Bobby,

As you may have guessed, copies of the question didn’t show up so I reposted. Gremlins got me I think!