Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, March 11th, 2021


David WarheitMarch 25th, 2021 at 9:45 am

Much simpler line: ruff the third D and draw trump, leaving dummy with SQ86 C3 and S with CAKJ8, and W is squeezed in S & C. Whoever thought that a squeeze could be a simpler line of play/!

A V Ramana RaoMarch 25th, 2021 at 10:14 am

Hi David
Perhaps there is no squeeze as in the six card position, West will retain two spades and four clubs. And as south discarded a club ( he cannot discard a spade obviously) he too comes down to four clubs and two spades. Now, if a club is ducked to West, he will exit in clubs and wait for the spade trick and if south leads A of spade and a spade, West exits low club and gets club Q in the end.

David WarheitMarch 25th, 2021 at 10:31 am

AVRR: When S ruffs the third D, that is trick 6 (one trump, 2 S tricks and 3 D tricks). He then plays 3 rounds of trump, leaving only 4 tricks to go, not 6.

A V Ramana RaoMarch 25th, 2021 at 11:40 am

Hi David
Sorry, my line was assuming playing diamonds without playing spade A. However, as the play went, squeeze operates in four card position as mentioned by you. However, had West returned a spade after winning K, dummy plays small. If east ruffs, south overruffs and draws trumps else simply ruffs and draws trumps and has ten tricks

bobbywolffMarch 25th, 2021 at 2:42 pm

Hi David & AVRR,

Nothing much more for me to say except the question of West’s intervention. If he had not, South may (would) have had a more difficult time deciding on his line of play in 4 hearts.

An interesting and quite different non-discussed theme would be East navigating 3 NV diamonds being doubled which might (without North’s heart raise but instead choosing to redouble and then doubling East’s likely 3 diamond response (with the goal being +800 (down four).

My feel, NS will wind up with only 7 defensive tricks (including 4 overall club tricks, two natural, one legitimate ruff and another positional one, plus one heart and likely two spades but perhaps only one, leaving them, at matchpoints, one+ short of their goal (improving on -620), but of course, losing mightily to those other EW’s who had defeated the heart game.

While many may think and then say that West had a classic TO double over his RHO’s 2 heart response to Stayman, the how to play it information given to his worthy opponents might, in fact, trump his doing so.

However there are likely two reasons for me not to mention that possibility, 1. It may be both petty and irrelevant to consider and 2. Why make it, even months later, a would be political discussion by bringing up that name?

Iain ClimieMarch 25th, 2021 at 4:58 pm

Hi Folks,

Easy to criticise West (and East probably did) but imagine North had rubbish (e.g. Jxxxx 10xxx xxx x) when east could cheerfully have passed West’s 2nd round double with HAKJ9 and the carnage might have been considerable after 3 top diamonds to start with. Then East complains about the poor pairs score or a few IMPs out when West doesn’t double. As Napoleon used to ask about each of his generals, “Is he lucky?”



bobbywolffMarch 25th, 2021 at 5:58 pm

Hi Iain,

No doubt, at least to me, that West’s secondary double after the first round of bidding would be called classic, short in the suit then bid (hearts), with four in each of the others and values behind the NT bidder, generally where the cat bird is so inclined to sit.

IOW, I agree that West had close to the practical application of “when to do it” and perhaps deserving of a more successful ending.

However, and in retrospect, in bridge as experience tells all of us (mice and men), that sometimes intervening allows opponents to play masterfully when otherwise they might not. To me, this feature is a major plus with our game, as important as all the other demands, good and consistent play and defense, up to date and modern bidding, especially with gaining experience within the partnership, and addressing the specific opponents faced, while catering, if possible to both their strengths and weaknesses.

Conceivably the above could be substituted for that particular partnership remaining more “lucky” than most of the others with no doubt Napoleon being lucky until somewhat like Adolph some years later, likely that old, not so distinguished foe, sometimes referred to as “pure greed”, ELBED him to his (I think) final resting place, with something even more final, finishing off “der fuehrer”.

Mircea GiurgeuMarch 25th, 2021 at 7:34 pm


Could you tell us what is your thought process upon seeing dummy if you were the declarer on today’s problem?

bobbywolffMarch 25th, 2021 at 9:59 pm

Hi Mircea,

Yes, without being specific on this particular hand, my mission (somewhat like mission impossible, but thankfully, vouching for my partnership confidence) would be focused on what I think (considering all the up to then evidence, my hand, and dummies, opening lead, bidding and all its tells (positive and negative), and table action of the opponents, huddles and such, as well as who the opponents are and what I may think they would do (bidding and play).

Next, I would try and concoct the best way to take the 10 tricks to which my partnership has committed. Most of the time (I think) there will be a decent chance to succeed without any help from the opponents, but some of the time, I may have to endure the hope that one opponent or the other will not necessarily provide their best defense.

Then after deciding how to start, I’ll give it a second look before I leap forward with my first play, but before I do, I will try and mentally check out what to expect if, I suppose, how to go from there if a finesse or a suit break is good or not so, and if the latter what I may still have left in my quiver for a final happy ending.

The above is really nothing special, but one learns early that there are no mulligans (golf expression, I think, meaning do overs) allowed.

Yes, your question reverberates importance, and thus becomes crucial to overall success, without which the player will become moribund. Thus, whatever method that individual takes, he must be optimistic and also confident that he will be doing his best.

I have intentionally exaggerated the process, if only to keep the declarer concentrating on that hand and nothing else.

And that is why there is a story of Terence Reese playing a hand, while a beautiful and very sexy female appeared directly in front of him (across the table), but he, with superior concentration, merely called for a specific card from dummy and swears later that he never saw the woman.

Iain ClimieMarch 26th, 2021 at 9:13 am

Hi Bobby,

The suggestion with the young lady and Terence Reese is that she was also wearing no clothes. I saw him once, when he was quite old, but still a physically imposing figure. He was a tremendous writer and player but sadly could be acid and there was always the spectre of 1965 hanging over him.


jim2March 26th, 2021 at 12:02 pm

The version I recall (Victor Mollo, maybe?) was that several members of an exclusive club talked about Reese’s famed concentration. One of them said it was so strong that even a naked maiden would not distract him while he declared a high-stakes hand.

This elicited quite a debate, and substantial bets were soon laid.

They waited in the Club until the scene was set, and the unclad lass walked in like another kibitzer and strolled around the table before exiting.

Reese reportedly never looked up, and the bets were settled accordingly.

bobbywolffMarch 26th, 2021 at 4:44 pm

Hi Jim2,

You might add in your second paragraph after, substantial bets, “but nothing else”.

jim2March 26th, 2021 at 11:50 pm

Victor Mollo did not address that, so I could not be certain.