Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021


David WarheitMarch 17th, 2021 at 12:11 pm

And if the opening lead is S5, S should rise with the A. Different problem, same solution Same result as well, unless W has led from KQJ53, but I trust none of us live in that universe.

Question: Suppose N has a very similar hand and perhaps even stronger, say SQx HKQxx DKxx CKQJx. Now there are 3 games that will probably make, but 3NT isn’t one of them. Should this N be concerned, once he finds out that S has no 4-card major, that the S suit might be wide open, and if so, what should he do about it?

A V Ramana RaoMarch 17th, 2021 at 2:11 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
After winning the lead and crossing over to club in dummy, perhaps south can try ten of diamonds instead of seven though both are same as far as south is concerned , but since east does not know the position of nine and eight, ten may coax him to cover with J and another fine point is just in case West is dealt with K J doubleton diamonds, he should win with K to lead declarer up the garden path

Iain ClimieMarch 17th, 2021 at 2:37 pm

Hi Bobby, David,

In response to David’s comment on which universe we live in, I recall a lead problem where the opening leader had exactly that sort of hand against 3N with the auction suggesting declarer had 4 cards in your strong suit (SKQJxx say). The winning ploy was to kick off with a small one, not just winning if partner has 10x or (improbably) Ax but when dummy has SAx opposite 109xx when pkaying the Ace blocks the suit if they are 5-2 as opening leader’s partenr “obviously” has Qx KJ or similar. Nice when it works….



bobbywolffMarch 17th, 2021 at 3:10 pm

Hi David,

Yes, you remain the David all of us bridge players have gotten to love and respect, on point, cagey, ironic, but painfully accurate.

At least up to now and IMO a huge favorite to continue, the playing of bridge, and by the two extremes, just learning the rules, much less the unaccountable nuances, all the way up to challenging the world in bridge expertise is full of contradictions, wherein newbies strike gold with their not so percentage wise choices, straight on with world class players choosing the right percentage line, playing, defending, and/or reaching the right final contract, but with the wrong result.

IMO, and I suspect yours, today’s final contract would be generally duplicated all across the whole world wide bridge world, of course by NS partnerships playing (more or less) a standard bidding system (if only one existed), played universally almost everywhere bridge is popular and, of course brightly approved.

However, and the point aimed at today is that the “Bath Coup” is a highly known, respected and understood gambit, even by a few relative beginners, but today is not the time to use it.

Time to take your mask off and admit to your spoof, when you talk of other better contracts.
Yes you, as usual, are on target, but to intimate, not just to say, that other game contracts need to be strongly considered since to even come reasonably close to doing so is nothing less than a provocation.

To do so, and no doubt, proves your supreme knowledge of our beloved game, but at the same time has moved your tongue very close to your cheek.

However, and no doubt, you have entertained, but let’s hope no fledgling beginners are among us.

bobbywolffMarch 17th, 2021 at 3:16 pm


All possible, but East should be mindful of covering the ten with the jack, if for no other reason than the possibility that his partner was dealt the Qx, not so unlikely on the bidding. However it is certainly of no concern to declarer, but instead only joy, if that event would occur and, of course, declarer would then follow by playing the ace.

bobbywolffMarch 17th, 2021 at 3:27 pm

Hi Iain,

Even in these last years of amazing technology, perhaps the current records of former hands played by well above average players might indicate that the gambit of leading 4th best from KQJxx has been done only 7 times out of more than 6 zillion opportunities.

The disconcerting statistics go on to prove that out of those 7 times, 6 were done by cheating players who were self-kibitzing, catching either 10x or even better Ax with partner.

And, if interested, in all of those times the declarer, between his own hand and then the exposed dummy, had a 4-2 distribution with the 10 and/or the ace being in the favored hand for declarer, but heist by the brilliance of the defense.

ADAVIKOLANU VENKATA RAMANA RAOMarch 17th, 2021 at 4:28 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
I don’t know about leading small from KQJxx but I remember long time back some one led nine of spades from Q J 10 9 3 and duly bamboozled, declarer went down in a cold contract and the person who led innocently mentioned that he led fourth best spade.( I do not remember the full hand.)