Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, March 25th, 2021


A V Ramana RaoApril 8th, 2021 at 12:14 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Perhaps South’s plan was faulty. After rurffing the lead in dummy, he should lead club from dummy. Now, if east rises with A, south will have easy ten tricks. But east would play low . West wins and if he returns a diamond, dummy ruffs, south ruffs a club, dummy ruffs South’s remaining diamond , cashes the high trump in dummy and leads heart. Now south would make the hand if hearts are three three or the person with doubleton hearts is not left with trump or even if east as it happens
with doubleton may casually play low. But he would go down if east rises with A and returns suit and West wins and gives east a ruff. So many ifs involved but an adept EW can rise to the occasion but south at least has tried. But the way he played, chances are more for going down as even if west doesn’t play K, east can win and return heart which means only one thing. He wants to ruff and West cannot misread and if it were to happen that West were short in hearts, he can rise and return the suit and if both E and W have three carded hearts, west can win and return diamond

A V Ramana RaoApril 8th, 2021 at 12:21 pm

Sorry , as I wrote in tempo, an error occurred towards end. As per the column line, since trumps have been drawn, West wins first heart and returns diamond for taking the contract down

bobbywolffApril 8th, 2021 at 2:22 pm


Yes, an overlooked defense by the opponents if trumps are not extracted, but one which should bedevil the declarer while at the table.

IOW, an ugly and likely terminal result for declarer, if (1) the opponents have the ability to secure that heart ruff, and (2) when and if they do, what ruse might lead them off the scent to properly succeed.

Methinks (while playing against average to above bridge thinkers and executors) might be to follow suit in hand with the King or
Queen of diamonds at trick one, as you ruff it on the table.

Lacking some kind of deception, I wouldn’t bet the farm on succeeding which in reality might then lead to an advantage, (not only permissible but even among the upper crust in our game often done, with nothing unethical in doing it, even if that early tempo break turns out to provide nothing of consequence).

However, that potential high diamond play from hand, may throw even a good defender off guard, but without thought at trick one, then action, that play is so unnatural that even a super expert, at least IMO would not be likely to just do it naturally and, of course immediately.

Finally we have all likely in our life heard the term “loose lips sink ships” perhaps in bridge it could be, “too fast play at trick one, when done, sometimes prevents having won”.

Not a known parable in bridge, but probably should be thought to at least some times, contribute.

Mircea GiurgeuApril 8th, 2021 at 4:52 pm

Hi Bobby,

How should East signal at trick one on this board?

bobbywolffApril 8th, 2021 at 7:37 pm

Hi Mircea,

Your question serves you quite well as to your bridge intellect.

To a rather large segment of the bridge population, teaching signalling is somewhat limited, basically on like or not like, but to a more sophisticated group, and different from hand to hand, also, when present, indicating a suit preference.

Today’s hand might be a prime example, which depending on what declarer does when calling dummy’s play, his choice of ruffing will be important information as well as changing gears for East to add to that moment.

IOW, declarer’s choice to ruff, will usually preclude certain holdings (such as AQ in hand) and thus allow East to make a suit preference follow, to which when playing standard, not upside down, would likely be low, indicating good clubs, although your Ax in hearts will possibly slow down your choice (yes, possibly an ethics question, but everyone involved, possibly later a tournament director and/or a committee will understand your predicament and go easy as long as play goes smoothly from there (whatever that means).

Although this hand is full of what if’s, still in isolation it probably becomes likely that a club suit preference will convey the more important information to partner. However it evens goes deeper since East does not also want to help declarer play the hand correctly and, of course totally realizes that declarer is also watching, so, not especially on this hand, but possibly on others.

I realize that complicated suggestions are not for everyone, especially the very large percent of players who only want to play decent bridge socially, but my guess is that you prefer far more than that.

And your specific question indicates that you will have success if and when you decide to take our marvelous game as seriously as I hope you do.

Good luck. Sadly, this specific hand is a difficult example to set a standard but I hope you just
get the drift of what I am trying to discuss.
Perhaps I am not helping you enough on this hand, since it becomes confusing, but, not much doubt to me, you will digest what you need to do very well and eventually achieve a higher goal than most others.