Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, December 1st, 2020


Iain ClimieDecember 15th, 2020 at 1:58 pm

Hi Bobby,

A further point on the spade ruff being a phantom menace (with apologies to Star Wars fans) is that West would have had to have found a spade lead from Jx Q9xx and 7 assorted minor suit cards. Even with the DA, a small club from between 2 and 5 small cards (or 10 high at most) would surely seem more attractive.



Bobby WolffDecember 15th, 2020 at 4:13 pm

Hi Iain,

Agree with your psychology, although to do so, knowledge of either the tendencies or general bridge thinking of both the opening leader and his partner usually helps, especially when making close declarer decisions.

For example, the third seat defender (East), by ducking his ace at trick one, showed little fear in doing so (as well as not too many spades), an action not usually taken by fearful opponents (referring to today’s quote, which also might likely result from partnerships playing jack denies a higher honor).

Bobby WolffDecember 15th, 2020 at 4:39 pm

Hi again Iain,

BTW, and hopefully, the use of throwing “phantasmagorical in the text, usually pertaining to a fantasy such as a dream or other imagination, is not an attempt at either sophistication nor confusion, but rather to sometimes equate what goes through bridge player’s minds, while trying to defend or play correctly, often by making an unusual play, not conforming to expected standards (3rd hand high).

Iain ClimieDecember 15th, 2020 at 5:04 pm

HI Bobby,

East rightly read the opening lead today but there is a moral dilemma here. If West has an agonised squirm before leading, it becomes potentially apparent that he might have selected a dangerous lead from KJ10(x) when ducking is disastrous. Most players would just play the Ace regardless at T1 and it would be difficult to blame them but if East is good enough to work out West probably hasn’t got that spade holding, should he be hauled over the coals for not ducking? Also East would need to duck smoothly at T1 of course. The potential for inadvertent UI is considerable here – but not if EW are weak!

AS far as phantasmagorical goes, partner’s flights of fancy can all too often be described as that!