Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

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


Mircea GiurgeuMarch 27th, 2021 at 1:26 pm

Hi Bobby,

Interestingly, if declarer cashes a top diamond at trick 5 to test if West started with 3 hearts, he cannot rectify the count any longer and the squeeze becomes one without count, relying on throwing East in hearts (assuming he discards diamonds on the last black trick winner).

bobbywolffMarch 27th, 2021 at 2:58 pm

Hi Mircea,

Yes, with fancy named squeezes and such, even an experienced declarer needs to be careful with the order of cashing his planned winners.

The good news is simply, after the usual indoctrination to squeeze experience, the execution of one is not all that difficult.

However, though easy to say, perhaps for some, it will take them a bit longer, but, to get where one wants in bridge expertise, it is usually necessary.

One thing for sure, the knowledge of a defender’s original distribution (the other then automatically is determined) is often the critical first step before a wise declarer then, if it is possible, to move into producing the often critical contract trick.

And for those relative to new to the game, believe it or not, to do so,once enough experience is gleaned, will, for most, become a natural phenomena, not nearly as difficult as first feared.

Not to say that an overwhelming number of social players do not even consider to accomplish, much less master, that stage of thinking, even though with a more serious attitude, it should and usually would, become easily doable.

Of course, the most necessary quality necessary is simply total concentration, a condition necessary in almost all attempted worthwhile enterprises. (also the critical reason bridge should be taught in schools since the playing of good bridge absolutely demands that, one that most other learning in schools, such as history, most science and a whole litany of others, do not).

David SnookMarch 27th, 2021 at 8:08 pm

Hi Bobby…

I have not looked at the solution to this hand and I think I’ve figured it out…

Let’s see if I did it right.

First off, I take the spade jack w/ one of dummy’s honors, and then play all my clubs, ending up in hand and tossing a diamond from dummy.

I now have five tricks and am starting to get a count of W & E’s holdings.

E started with no spades and most likely would toss a diamond on the spade jack at trick one, and followed the first three clubs before having to toss again, probably a second diamond, on the fourth club?

I now know E started with no spades and three clubs so E must have a total of ten red cards all together and W started w/ seven spades and three clubs so W can only hold three red cards in total.

Now I play my remaining high spades off, and W follows suit but E is forced to discard, and from which suit? If E discards two hearts, a final heart honor is exposed and if E discards two diamonds, a diamond honor is also exposed. So E is forced to discard one heart and one diamond and is now left w/ three each of hearts and diamonds w/ an honor in both suits protected.

Next I play both my heart honors and when both W follow suit, E is left w/ one last heart and three diamonds. Since I’m in dummy, I lead my final small heart, putting E on lead w/ three diamonds and when I get back on lead w/ a diamond honor, I can play the heart eight for my 12th trick!

Is it a good idea to play one diamond honor before both heart honors, to see if W has to follow suit and thereby giving me a more accurate count of both W & E’s holdings?

It doesn’t seem to matter whether or not E holds all four missing heart and diamond honors here, does it?

Again, I realize playing this out when one can see all four hands is quite different from a real game AND it can be really difficult finding the right path even when you get to see all four hands.

What a fun hand.

bobbywolffMarch 28th, 2021 at 1:25 am

Hi David,

Although I was a little lax in keeping play by play, you basically and essentially managed it very well.

Also you are on target by allowing for it to be at least slightly more more difficult when not looking at the hands while you play.

However I approve of what you are doing, since you are concentrating on what the opponents are having to deal with, and how your play (based on near certainty once East shows his spade void, the correct ending can then be determined with West getting caught in a vice, (bridge talk, meaning squeeze).

Most wanna be players do not go as far as you do, and by not doing so, it will have great effect on their then slower learning and progress in general.

Keep it going and you will soon graduate to being able to at least come close to getting it done, but then remember that by mastering this part of the game is only one step toward your ultimate goal.

The more bridge you play and finding the best players available to do it with, will then have a great influence on how you will eventually develop.

However neither Rome was built in a day nor a bridge expert becoming one in fewer than many years so patience is also a factor.

Good luck and stay in touch.