Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, December 17th, 2020


Iain ClimieDecember 31st, 2020 at 9:55 am

Hi Bobby,

I admit I’ might have led a club too but a major suut may well be better and certainly works today. David Bird wrote an article in “English Bridge” mentioning that computer simulations suggested the 3 card major lead was often more effective than a modest 4 card minor in such situations. TOCM will dictate otherwise of course – whatever is led will misfire for Jim2 e.g. a spade will find partner having KJx(x) under AQ10 and declarer not having the entries for 2 finesses.

Does such advice still work for 2N 3N though? The near certainty of leading into something is a nightmare unless you’ve got a holding like J109x although that could still be declarer’s long suit.



bobbywolffDecember 31st, 2020 at 2:23 pm

Hi Iain,

Thanks for that and though discussing the seamy side of our ultra challenging game, helps all of us deal with both troublesome defensive beginnings and above all, simply put, the almost always significant advantage of both allowing and then, if able, to force those worthy opponents to have to play both first and third, instead of the rapture and ecstasy provided by instead, second and fourth which, by careful handling, you might have earned.

Yes, and from an opening leaders standpoint, while being on lead against a RHO who has shown great overall strength during the bidding, it often costs a trick to start that suit, but many times, it is still the recommended choice, in lieu of the hoped for ending, of establishing tricks (most especially in NT contracts) in time to cash them at the death.

However for suit play, when the declarer will possess naming the trump suit, those NT tricks developed, vanish like wilted flowers, which, in turn should discourage an opening leader from being aggressive while on lead.

Although, as you and I are painfully aware, the above discussion needs to be taught to beginners, but sometimes it becomes helpful to remind oneself of basic strategy, in order to continue to play the percentages correctly.

All the above will surely demand, on any one hand, to allow the winner of that hand to lead the discussion, if for no other reason, than to hear happy talk rather than unpleasant.

David SnookDecember 31st, 2020 at 7:55 pm


This is one of those mornings when I managed to figure out the solution to the problem before looking at your explanation, Bobbie!

I did indeed pass on the first club, and then ended up playing a low spade to dummy’s 10 at the right time, throwing E on lead.

I do occasionally get it right!

Apart from patting myself on the back, I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your daily column. It really is one of the first places I go every morning while eating breakfast, so I can study the hand of the day.

And a thank you to the others who come here regularly, like Iain, Dave, and AVRR, for their viewpoints and willingness to share their expertise.

You all are a great collection of teachers.

And a Happy New Year to all!

bobbywolffDecember 31st, 2020 at 11:59 pm

Hi David,

And I will speak for the others in wishing the same to you, with 2021 offering a big improvement to us all, certainly including the whole bridge world, which to me would definitely include a mighty return to face to face competition.

My guess is that, after seeing the NS layout in today’s hand, and then seeing a rather large advantage in allowing East not West to make the next play, zeroed you in on the master solution.

IOW, you took time when you should as declarer and examined the whole hand before following suit.

Solving puzzles involving numbers is perhaps the calling card for playing good bridge, but, if so, rigid discipline with one’s thinking is a close second.

Again thanks for your well wishes and compliments, which is a sure way for you to gladden everyone’s day. And everyone staying SAFE will be another.

David SnookJanuary 1st, 2021 at 1:59 am

Took the time to think it through?

Indeed, indeed, Bobbie…

I’ve been reading S.J. Simon’s wonderful book, ‘Why You Lose At Bridge’ and that was one of the first points he made… LOOK over both hands – yours and the dummy – and think it over before playing the first card…

It works! Who knew?

Sometimes, even when I can see all 4 hands right in front of me, it’s still hard to see the path thru the thicket… undoubtedly that difficulty is compounded by lords knows what factor when you can only see your own hand and the dummy… and to me, that’s where the value lies in working thru hands like to today’s… pattern recognition… next time I see a hand of bridge that reminds me of today’s, I’ll have a better idea of how to try playing it.

Take care, thank you again for your generosity, and I’ll see you in the new year.