Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, February 12th, 2021


A V Ramana RaoFebruary 26th, 2021 at 2:47 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Perhaps a detail which needs mentioning. South could have gone down straightaway had the spade J and eight are interchanged between east west hands. After winning spade A, South knows that east is holding just one spade
but there is no guarantee that it is J. So perhaps south could have led a heart dummy’s K followed by diamond J and when this is not covered, south stays in dummy for leading spade. ( If east plays eight, south covers ten) East wins and shifts to club but south wins and cashes two diamonds on which West must let only a heart go because, if he discards, south can start on spades and if he discards club, the communication between East West is severed and now south can lead a spade for promoting ninth trick

bobbywolffFebruary 26th, 2021 at 3:49 pm


Except for the slight cosmetic slip of not noticing that East played the spade jack (not the queen) at trick one, your point is well taken.

However if the spade spots are different, wouldn’t that difference manifest itself with West possibly holding the original KQ82 instead of the KQ32?. As you can guess, since either of those holdings are as likely as the other, that might appear to be a catastrophic result to present to one’s teammates.

Of course, this hand becomes fraught with danger, due to the original heart holding held by declarer and dummy, since leading a heart to the dummy’s honors early and, of course, going up with the queen will normally, in the normal course, will not clarify much to declarer as to which defender held what, since most defenders will duck from either position regardless of which honor or honors they held.

However, nothing above automatically makes your line of play not one to be seriously considered, only to call attention to an alternate lie of the cards which could be fatal.

Your view of alternate lines of play has always the respect of. at the very least, of being worth seriously considering and often clearly better, even though, like all of us, sometimes it lens itself to further discussion.

A V Ramana RaoFebruary 26th, 2021 at 5:15 pm

Oh ,sorry
Blindspot of not noticing that east won first trick with J and yes, if West held K Q and eight, south loses in the line I described
Thanks and regards

David WarheitFebruary 26th, 2021 at 9:26 pm

You talk about an alternative line of play which “lens” itself to further discussion. At first I didn’t get it, but now I SEE!

bobbywolffFebruary 26th, 2021 at 11:53 pm

Hi David,

And if the next discussion revolves itself around
moving up the ladder of success in bridge to a decent level, the “Aces” experiment, all those years ago (53, 1968 the beginning), might suggest what it takes.

Six relatively young guys playing 128 board matches over the week-end against the best opponents available, carefully going over every hand Monday and Tuesday, assigning both credit and blame, filing every hand in (on average) about ten different categories, using the first commercial computers to simulate the crucial judgment necessary with opening leads, choices of games, how high to go in competitive part scores, and taking apart what needs to be learned about successful slam bidding, as well as factors with overcalls, preempts, and, of course, consistent partnership agreements, understanding when exceptions occur, and perhaps one of the most determining overall factors, partners saying and acting everything winning, depending on the circumstances involved.

Other elements are also involved, including respect, overcoming obstacles such as different viewpoints, and always being physically ready to play one’s best.

An active and inspirational coach, (not necessary to be a top player) is a necessity, plus a growing up period which at times could even be compared with trench fighting during wartime, only winning at bridge being as important as trying to stay alive.

“Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, did you enjoy the play”?

What was our team grade (during this period of time), you may ask? About a C+ would be my answer. But it was a sound growing up experience exemplifying effort, complaining,
good times, bad times, hate, love, and possibly above all, some satisfaction.

Waste of time? Perhaps, but for me, not really!