Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, January 25th, 2021


David SnookFebruary 8th, 2021 at 6:49 pm

What an interesting hand this morning!

Again, I have not looked at the explanation. Once the club jack is led, I quit reading and tried to figure it out for myself.

So, I take the club J w/ my A and test trump, playing the A and getting the bad news. It looks like I need to trump a heart in dummy w/ the S jack but if I do E will get a trump promotion out of it and I go down one trick in the end.

So I next play a club to the K and play a club back, picking up E’s queen and I can afford to trump low in hand because I know W has no trump. Next I start on hearts. W takes the first 2 hearts w/ no problem and leads a 3rd. I can take that 3rd H w/ dummy’s J but then again, E ends up w/ a trump promotion, so I throw a diamond on this trick.

Now I can eventually trump a diamond low in dummy!

E/W now have 3 heart tricks but now what? A diamond lead does them no good. If W switches to clubs, I can overtrump in hand. If W plays a 4th heart, I can also now safely overtrump in hand and if E throws a diamond on the 4th heart, I can trump low in hand, take my last two high trumps, play a D to dummy, pull E’s last trump w/ my J of clubs, and my 10th trick is my last high diamond.

This line works, does it not?

David SnookFebruary 8th, 2021 at 6:53 pm

Oops.. that’s J of spades in dummy, not clubs…

Iain ClimieFebruary 8th, 2021 at 6:59 pm

Hi Bobby,

South still appears OK on the double dummy lead of 3 rounds of heats. He riffs the third one high, cashes the SA and says something rude under his breath. He plays CA, C to K ruffs a club, then cashes DAK and leads a D to either make his small trump or see East ruff in when the D loser goes away. Except this isn’t true if East ditches 2 clubs at T2 and T3 so declarer on that line has to ditch dummy’s D at T3.

As ever West gets the blame for not finding the right lead! What if east doubles or risks 4H though, presumably asking for a heart lead or just fancying his chances? If East has 4D (but not Q and J) and 4C he can ditch 2D o n the H but that doesn’t help.

Regards, Iain

Iain ClimieFebruary 8th, 2021 at 7:03 pm

Hi David,

There is a danger noted in the column that East with fewer diamonds can ditch some and then be able to ruff dummy’s 2nd diamond winner or overruff the attempted diamond ruff.



Bobby WolffFebruary 8th, 2021 at 8:40 pm

Hi David,

You, in fact, took the 2nd favored line as explained in the text.

After finding the adverse trump distribution at trick two, then a club to dummy and ruff a club small when East follows. Then a diamond to dummy (definitely not a heart) to lead the 4th club, throwing a diamond if East ruffs in.

I could continue, but it is not necessary and all will end well.

The concept to grasp is that, while dealing with trumps as declarer, much of the skill of which has to do with timing, usually involved with the imagery at the death of that part of the hand, will leave the declarer in control by often trading a loser for a loser, enabling the key contract trick to be won by declarer.

It sounds more complicated than it is, especially after gleaning the experience necessary, to see it in action. Summing up, it is just one of the
tricks with trump, which, in time, while not immediately happening, will soon become 2nd nature and thus much less frightening.

Also, from that moment on, one’s bridge horizon moves quickly to the upside, with the normal danger, only the lack of that first experience to install the confidence necessary.

Good luck!

Bobby WolffFebruary 8th, 2021 at 8:58 pm

Hi Iain,

With three rounds of hearts being led, it will become necessary to discard a diamond from dummy on the third with the idea (if the trumps become 4-0 with naturally East having the 4) then, after finding the bad trump break, still ruff a diamond low in dummy, before extracting East’s fangs, to score up his contract.

Yes, there is a possibility of declarer having to make a good guess to accomplish that, but what else is new, when playing our at times devilish game?

David SnookFebruary 9th, 2021 at 5:51 pm

Hi all…

Just wanted to thank you both for your input on my comment.

I did go back and really look at the hand to understand what you were both saying and dang, I could see it when I stared long enough and hard enough.

It works like this, no?

Once S discovers W has no trump, he can lead his 2 low clubs from the dummy and see what E does. if E trumps, S can over trump, and if E doesn’t trump, S can take those two tricks w/ his 2 low trumps, and in the end, clear E’s trump w/ his 4 higher trump.

I se how what I suggested works w/ this particular distribution AND why trumping clubs in dummy is indeed the safer play.

As always, a very fun hand to decipher, and thank you!