Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 26th, 2020


A V Ramana RaoDecember 10th, 2020 at 3:37 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Since the deal appeared to be quite intriguing, I did a little further analysis as follows:
Suppose east does not cash one spade winner when in with club A and shifts to diamond straightaway, Best for south is to try to run clubs but east discards diamonds. Now south goes down if he too discards diamonds preparing for overruff . For eg., once east is out of diamonds, ruffs the next club . South can overruff but has to lose three more tricks . But south prevails by discarding spade now thanks to the all important seven of hearts in dummy. Now he leads that card and if east covers, south wins and continues trumps losing just two trump tricks apart from club A and if he does not cover, south stays in dummy and continues clubs again losing only two trump tricks. As can be seen, if the seven and five of hearts are swapped between dummy and east, south does not have play for the contract but south did a mistake. Just duck the lead and win second spade and the play transposes to column line with south making the contract

Iain ClimieDecember 10th, 2020 at 3:52 pm

Hi Bobby, AVRR,

How much does it matter which H South leads from dummy when playing a heart to the 10? Is it crucial not to waste the H7 for example, although double dummy South would just run it. If East takes the first spade (assuming South ducks) and switches to a diamond or even a small trump does that make any difference?

Also, AVRR, have you been reading “Adventures in Card Play” by Kelsey and Ottlik? The quality of the analysis suggests serious homework!



A V Ramana RaoDecember 10th, 2020 at 4:15 pm

Hi lain
I presumed that when the first heart was led, it was four and not seven. And yes not reading but I read it about twenty and odd years back. Simply loved it for the mathematical genius of Ottlik and the descriptive text of Kelsey. S…..o much appealing . The journey of Cormorant is indeed Romantic

Bobby WolffDecember 10th, 2020 at 4:32 pm

Hi AVRR & Iain,

If ever there appeared either schools on bridge, or, of course blended in to high school or college courses, there may likely be either a side course or, at the very least, a couple of months specialty entitled, “Tricks With Trumps”.

The logic of such a theme would be a “numbers lover” and there are many more of those than expected, who would glide through today’s hand slicing up easily the special timing needed to succeed.

Since offshoots in bridge learning are so attuned to fitting numbers together, causing smooth transitions with arithmetical thinking, methinks such a thing might even filter down to special courses in primary schools, long before college entered the picture.

Obviously I’m dreaming, since the USA, with my thinking of their Ostrich type thinking, have either not known about this (what could be) incredible advance in logical “numbers” thinking or if so, discarded it more than has been the deuce of clubs (of course, when clubs were not trump).

Thanks AVRR for seriously tackling this bridge subject and also Iain for his complimentary referral, while mentioning Kelsey and Ottlik

A V Ramana RaoDecember 10th, 2020 at 4:39 pm

Hi lain
Hope our gentle host approves :
It should not matter if east shifts to a trump or diamond after winning spade in case south ducks the lead. Heart, He can finesse ten ( letting it ride to seven perhaps is too ambitious unless south had a peep at East’s cards. ) And diamond, dummy wins and low trump played finessing ten. South makes ten tricks

Bobby WolffDecember 10th, 2020 at 6:00 pm


Yes, and of course, together all of us are a team, trying to explain what we know (likely not as much as we think we do), so that others, less experienced, will not regard the separate tricks (magic, thought by some) are instead relatively simple arithmetic, but as applied specially to our challenging game.

In that way, the mysteries begin to be better understood, somewhat like learning foreign languages when after the first and most difficult chore, learning to think in terms of whatever the key element of relationship between the different type of thinking creates.

All somewhat spooky, but well within an accepted process of community thinking once one first responds and then gravitates to “playing card” strategy and how a trick is won economically and gracefully.

IOW, it becomes easier than anyone just starting, can believe.