Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, March 24th, 2021


A V Ramana RaoApril 7th, 2021 at 3:32 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
South should realise that if west has both missing club honors, there is nothing he can do due to the threat of diamond force. So perhaps he should have drawn trumps and go after clubs but I have a feeling he should have bid two hearts instead of three. Two hearts itself indicates a strong hand and if north raises to three, south can bid four clubs and most probably this hand would be played in five clubs which makes as long as east holds one honor and south guesses correctly but today, it is certain as west is void in clubs and of course hearts distribution would not be relevant. Your view please

Iain ClimieApril 7th, 2021 at 3:48 pm

Hi Bobby,

A minor point but should South lead the CK from hand if trumps are drawn on the off chance that West has a singleton Queen (he won’t have the Ace for his WJO); leading up to the CK also gives this extra chance compared to East holding CAx or CAQ if trumps are 4-2? On the other hand, if clubs are 3-3 (as hear), does the 4-0 club break cause any problems?



Iain ClimieApril 7th, 2021 at 3:49 pm

here, not hear – sorry!

bobbywolffApril 7th, 2021 at 6:13 pm


Definitely agree that declarer should draw all the trump, before leading the king of clubs from hand.

As for the jump to 3 hearts instead of only the much more temperate bid of only 2, while I do not disagree that 2 is sufficient, the fact remains that if partner held almost nothing but the queen of hearts or length, game would likely be a laydown or close.

Sometimes, while trying to be scientific and consistent bidders, we lose sight of where many tricks are developed, by suit lengths and key (usually lucky) specific cards (here a rounded suit queen). Even the heretofore jump to 4 hearts instead, might, on another day, be just where we belong, as well as making it more difficult for the opponents to find their fit.

IOW, trump fits, like love, is where you find it, with both subjects incredibly underrated.

Please do not interpret any of the above as contrary to your view, only a passing (perhaps the wrong word to use) fancy, but at the bridge table, more often than many might think, a winner.

bobbywolffApril 7th, 2021 at 6:19 pm

Hi Iain,

When hearts break 3-3 the club problem is solved since East will certainly then have the club length allowing declarer to not lose control (East, on the bidding, be out of diamonds to force and allow South to then be able to both enjoy his clubs (even if he loses two club tricks) and better still, score up his heart game.

Strange game, this bridge. Perhaps one day it will become popular (especially absent pandemics).

David SnookApril 8th, 2021 at 5:48 am

And here’s what I did…

After trumping the second diamond, I played the spade queen and once in dummy with help of the heart queen, played the ace and king of spades, throwing low clubs from my hand. I then played dummy’s 4th spade, trumping w/ the heart jack.

Back in hand, I played my remaining two high trump, tossing the two diamonds still in the dummy and drawing all trump from W & E, thereby reducing E to nothing but clubs.

At that point I simply played a club high enough to force E to take w/ an honor and E was end played. E could still take one more club but then had to lead back into my remaining higher clubs.

Does this not work?

bobbywolffApril 8th, 2021 at 3:25 pm

Hi David,

Yes, your play does work, but only what we call “on a double dummy basis” which means “after looking at all four hands’.

If East had 5 spades or 4 hearts (of course fewer clubs to compensate) then you’d be said to be “up a creek with leaky oars” or some such negative banter.

However, I am not telling you or even suggesting that you do not continue to practice our great game, any way you are either comfortable or even by just choosing to do it that way.

However, when you now transition to normal game conditions your success rate will obviously take a “hit”. However I will not take a guess at to what extent it will happen.

Whatever time you devote to bridge and thus bridge thinking will be valuable. No doubt you
have taken a route not many (AFAIK) have chosen, but I am not here to direct that, only happy that you are developing a love for the game, which, in time, will serve you well as you take the Yellow Brick Road to success.

As long as eventually you get back to reality and do not see Frank Morgan coming out behind the drapes as the so-called wizard.