Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, February 13th, 2021


Iain ClimieFebruary 27th, 2021 at 12:06 pm

Hi Bobby,

On a spade lead and (say) trump return South can simply win in hand, ruff a spade high and draw trumps cash CAQ and then dump the losing D on the CK. Hence West’s lead is actually best for the defence although it didn’t help in the end. Nicely played by South although North’s SK is crucial – without it East can just shed the SA.



bobbywolffFebruary 27th, 2021 at 3:26 pm

Hi Iain,

No doubt you and I are birds of a feather in first appreciating Helgemo’s scintillating declarer ingenuity and then considering the irony of North being dealt the king of spades, a thought to be, totally wasted card, for almost, but not quite, all possible contingencies, but turning out, because of Geir’s brilliance. a vital factor.

Seriously, how can any intelligent and fair thinking knowledgeable game expert not regard bridge, the greatest mind game ever conceived?

Especially with all the side factors of psychology, originality, partnership work effort, and, of course, the pure and logical thinking necessary to even begin to master what our beloved competition demands with, at least up to now, IMO, no one has, nor I believe, no one will ever, but many will continue to just seek the highest standard they can muster, which in itself, is quite a respectable and noble effort.

Just another reason why even the thought of cheating, a deadly horror, which cannot be overcome, should sound a ringing alarm to every hopeful player, NEVER, if not resisted, to be tolerated, nor, at least at the high levels, ever again to be allowed to show one’s face, much less compete.

David SnookFebruary 27th, 2021 at 7:32 pm


I think I FINALLY figured this one out.

I have not looked at the solution and here’s what I did…

I took the diamond 10 w/ the ace in hand and decided that 10 was most likely a singleton so I need to stay away from diamonds until I pull trump.

I also need to get rid of a spade so first I play the ace-queen of clubs, then lead a low trump (that heart 2 is an important card!) to the H8 in dummy and play the club king, throwing a spade from hand on it.

I next play the club 10, trumping E’s jack. I lead back up to my trump ace, then play the H3 back to my hand, pulling W’s last heart.

I can now play my last two trumps in hand and E is squeezed. E can either keep a 2nd spade as an escape card or protect the diamond queen but not both.

I think that’s it!

I have to say, I had to play the hand out 5 or 6 times to figure that out. Even when I can see all the cards right in front of me it can be tricky finding that safe path through the maze, and I would undoubtedly have failed in a real game when I can’t see all 4 hands and only get one try.

What an interesting hand…

Iain ClimieFebruary 27th, 2021 at 7:44 pm

Hi David,

I gave a bridge teacher friend of mine help for one of her weekend courses and suggested that actually having a pack of cards and laying them out (declarer and dummy or your hand and dummy for defence) is a simple but useful trick for bridging the gap between paper columns and the table. I hope that isn’t too much a statement of the obvious.



bobbywolffFebruary 27th, 2021 at 10:30 pm

Hi David & Iain,

Even my computer feels both of your enthusiasm for tackling today’s hand.

With that as a starter, is there any wonder the useful challenge bridge (especially the high-level brand) offers everyone who has the time, energy and, of course, the mind-set to see it through to what is hoped to be a happy ending.

Even when this exercise produces less than a happy ending, who could possibly deny the thrills which were caused by only trying to envision what could have been done and allows our bridge brains to seek out a solution, even when that ship has sailed.

Nothing exactly like it, never was, never will be.

Thanks to both of you for your continued contributions and to be fair, an extra bow to Iain for all that he has done for so many years to bring his electricity which continues to shock.

David SnookFebruary 27th, 2021 at 11:26 pm

Hi Iain (and Bobby)…

Yes, what a fun hand to puzzle out.

I’ve thought about using real cards, and not a paper diagram, to try and work some of these hands out.

I’m typically reading the column and trying to find that winning pathway while eating breakfast, so space is a bit of an issue at that point.

I’ll make a point of clearing the table and usign actual cards one of these days.

Thank you, again, to both of you for your insights!

A V Ramana RaoFebruary 28th, 2021 at 3:28 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Helgemo is a player with great insight. After east supported spades and yet West not leading the suit and leading a diamond must have rung alarm bells for south but the declarer at the first table did not heed.And another interesting point is south could have played dummy’s A at first trick. It really doesn’t matter as long as east has Q of diamonds as instead of a normal tenace, it would be a split tenace in the ending
And the three card end position is vaguely reminiscent of the column of 12th February

bobbywolffFebruary 28th, 2021 at 6:23 am

Hi David,

Whatever method you think is best for duplicating the winning line (or better, if possible, the best percentage line against good opposition, although you can hedge when determining his opening lead to what is likely, with your experience, to be as normal as possible.

My only added help would drift to, near or at the end of each experiment, to try to understand how critical counting every hand as declarer and as both defenders will be as opposed to not doing so.

Therein is the secret to even have a chance to develop reaching your goal, for without which, (AND I MEAN EVERY HAND), your ceiling is such that your head will always hurt from countless hits, and I accent the word countless!


bobbywolffFebruary 28th, 2021 at 6:29 am


Right again, and although I have not yet turned back into re-reading February 12th, your credibility stays tip top, since that day was Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, and we all know he was known by his nickname, HONEST ABE!

Normanton Park CondoMarch 3rd, 2021 at 4:17 pm

Long live Tplf