Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 6th, 2020


A V Ramana RaoNovember 20th, 2020 at 1:57 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Perhaps sort of elopement play too works for eg., After south plays A and small diamond, West winning and returning K of heart. South can duck this. Surely hearts cannot be 6-1. Wins continuation with A in dummy and ruffs a diamond with east showing out. South leads spade to K in dummy and ruffs another diamond and exits with a major suit . If east wins, he is left only with trumps and West wins , whichever card West returns, south makes the contract

Bobby WolffNovember 20th, 2020 at 4:06 pm


It certainly appears to me the your line of play is better than declarer conceived and for that I thank you for the learning experience. And by speaking for all readers and myself, thank you.

However, the intended thought by the column, exemplified by this hand, is to promote the continual counting all serious players need
to acquire in order to consistently rise to a higher level of play.

No doubt your comment is appreciated for its definite value, but since counting every hand as declarer (and also as a keen defender) is essential, if greatly improving in talent and thus with results, is likely the eventual goal.

BTW, as a byproduct, I will never recommend “support doubles” as a good convention. While recognizing its simple value, IMO, it gives too much information to those wily opponents who will then, and while the auction continues, be much better able to judge their offensive potential, knowing for sure how many of that specific suit an opponent has as well as during the defense when without that information the defense often (especially early in the defense and usually with the partner of the support doubler the declarer) is no doubt advantaged.

Yes, by playing that convention 4-3 fits in the trump suit are usually avoided, but by my experience, the side information allowed to slide to the enemy is more valuable than the disadvantage of declaring 4-3 fits, which to me is greatly overrated and more often than suspected, the better contract (often at matchpoints, as well as more exciting).

Some seek out salad, others prefer caviar.

A V Ramana RaoNovember 20th, 2020 at 4:36 pm

Yes Sir , counting is absolutely essential which all of this week’s column hands illustrate in a very emphatic way. On today’s column, since the elopement play occurred and appealed to me, I thought I should bring it to your notice

David SnookNovember 20th, 2020 at 6:42 pm

Good morning (PST), Bobby…

Question for you about one of your comments above.

On the lead of the spade queen by W, you say that ‘declarer notes East has exactly 4 spades’…

Does declarer reach conclusion based on the bidding?

Declarer can surely count his, or her, own holdings – a combined 6 spades… but how can declarer be sure that East has 4?

Again, thank you in advance for what will undoubtedly be top-flight commentary.

And Just want to say I do come by every day to see what the hand of the day is, and to read the comments. Your site is an excellent source of high level bridge thought!

Bobby WolffNovember 20th, 2020 at 8:37 pm

Hi David,

Much thanks for the kind words and for paying AOB a personal visit.

On this particular hand and on this specific bidding, once East passed on his second chance to bid (after West’s “support double” showing three card spade support) by bridge logic, if, in fact East would have had at least 5 spades or more, he almost certainly would have competed to 2 spades, instead of the pass he chose, simply because he would like his partner to know, that they together would have an eight card or longer fit, enough then to usually be able to gather together 8 tricks or more with spades as trump. Also, just in case his partner had a better hand, 15+ points or more, he would then know that they found their likely longest trump fit, enabling him to only have to concentrate on the level, with the strain usually already determined.

All the above could be considered, even if sometimes pushing his opponents higher in order to secure the contract of their choice is the only gain, it will be worth the price, if down one results, instead of having a minus score.

Unfortunately in most bridge books, the above discussion will hardly ever take place, in spite of final results almost always being the determining factor between success or failure.

Therefore South sadly will be aware of his partner also quite likely to mirror his number of spades, instead of having a doubleton, allowing an extra trick by likely secured with enabling a trick by being able to ruff a loser in hand with a trump by the shorter trump suit (clubs) in dummy.

Of course, if the opponents are playing “Support doubles” and West, instead of doubling then bids 2 spades (showing 4 card support) South will experience the good news by knowing he will likely score a trump trick in dummy.

Emphasizing the long ago war slogan of “loose lips sink ships” and linking bridge to the war of minds (which fits) instead of bodies.

Good luck and don’t be a stranger!

Bobby WolffNovember 20th, 2020 at 8:55 pm


No doubt, whenever you write, you have earned the right for others to pay close attention since the thought you have given it. is obviously both
very useful, on target and extremely sincere.