Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021


Mircea GiurgeuFebruary 16th, 2021 at 4:34 pm

Hi Bobby,

On today’s problem, what should West lead from:

A K 9 7
9 2
10 9 5
9 8 4 2

Is it (almost) never a good idea to lead fourth best from AKxx against 3NT?

bobbywolffFebruary 16th, 2021 at 6:20 pm

Hi Mircea,

Good question, especially since a huge majority of how-to bridge books or other learning experiences will leave contradictory situations such as the above, out of that learning material.

The idea of leading the stronger of especially four card suits has many exceptions in what should be its solution. In other words with five card suits (or, of course longer) those extra possible to be established tricks, are often worth the loss of one (the opening lead) simply because it is similar to a loss leader concept in business, “Having to accept a charge against in order to gain what is necessary”.

When holding only 4 cards, the situation changes so that the beginning disadvantage, leading blind before any of the other 39 cards are definitely known, and probably worse, having to play 1st and 3rd to the benefit of the hated declarer, instead of 2nd and 4th which is entitling the enemy the highly favored position of being in the catbird position in this incredibly competitive initial foray.

IOW, to do so, is very much against the odds, especially when holding both the AK of a suit, if only because it is certainly possible, if not likely that the declarer would never have won a trick in that suit, if he had not been presented it on a platter and at trick one.

If necessary, and completing this rant, perhaps it is not too unlikely, especially while leading against 3NT that the defense would have had four defensive tricks in that suit alone, plus the one they would get in with (won by partner), in order to defeat them.

Sometimes bridge books and promotions like free advice and other forms of bridge teaching rely too greatly with catchy phrases (“4th best from longest and strongest”) only for reminders, rather than to go the extra mile toward allowing the recipient to understand why (in this case, the ever present horror).

Mircea GiurgeuFebruary 16th, 2021 at 7:57 pm

very good advice, thank you very much Bobby. You are a treasure for us all.

Hoping that the unusual cold weather we’re seeing on TV in Texas does not affect you much.

bobbywolffFebruary 16th, 2021 at 11:24 pm

Hi again Mircea,

Thanks for your very kind words.

Since I took the paraphrase of Horace Greeley’s supposed to be, sage advice: “Go West, Old Man” and moved to Las Vegas about 17 years ago, I have avoided the below zero extravaganza happening in Dallas.

However, I sincerely recommend either place as more than adequate to visit or permanently reside.

Much good luck and happiness to you and yours.