Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, April 6th, 2021


David WarheitApril 20th, 2021 at 10:52 am

Minor point: shouldn’t declarer cash CAQ before leading to CK? This way he makes an overtrick in case C are 3-3 while he loses a D to W, and 2 overtricks when making 5 D tricks, and while it may set up a C trick for E-W, it does not set up any communication in the C suit between E & W. Also, if one opponent shows out on the lead of CA, declarer just reverts to the column line.

Iain ClimieApril 20th, 2021 at 1:30 pm

HI Bobby,

I have a feeling that TOCM will give East either DK alone (if declarer leads the DJ and then D9 from dummy) or K10 alone if South switches tack and decides that West has the D10. Juggling the hands rather, if the West hand were rather stronger, including 5 hearts and around 12-13 points, would the lead of the H2 be worth a try here? An unsuspecting South might then assume he was relatively safe from a heart attack (sorry) and knock out stoppers instead of taking a finesse. I managed that many, many years ago after 1N – 3N when I had a 13 count with H AKxxx and led the bottom one (the 2 albeit playing 4th). Declarer could have taken a finesse for 9 tricks but (not so) safely knocked out my other Ace. My partner was rather happier than dummy as I cashed out.

If North uses Stayman to reach 3N, I assume that West will still lead a heart – the minor suit alterntives just don’t appeal. If West were 4-4 in the majors, though, with one more D, then what is a sensible single dummy lead?



bobbywolffApril 20th, 2021 at 2:28 pm

Hi David,

You are close to 100% right in your basic, but not completely, suggestion of, certainly while playing matchpoints, of testing clubs for 3-3 in search of an overtrick. The only nay might be, while possibly present in this hand, would enable West to more easily false card (actually, unblocking play) when holding today’s combination of diamonds.

IOW, while playing against a top player sitting West, he might more easily, pick up what you are trying to accomplish overall, by giving him more discernible information to consider.

However, yes, it is very difficult to quantify such ramblings, but our venue is the perfect place to discuss such possibilities, if, for no other reason, than to show what a great game we love to play.

When strength goes against strength, surprise attacks, probably similar to wartime strategy, do often have discernible advantage.

However, thanks for bringing up the subject with, and of course, as is often the case, my best answer should be maybe or just perhaps for matchpoints, but not for IMPs nor rubber bridge.

bobbywolffApril 20th, 2021 at 2:57 pm

Hi Iain,

By all means follow your ploy, (while being able to determine your partner will have next to nothing of value) try and confuse (particularly an adept declarer) by your psychic choice of giving him a wrong reading of the length of suits, since your RHO (declarer) not your partner may, on this specific hand, be directly involved with making contract making decisions and like Elvis P. use to sing, “…and you ain’t no friend of mine”.

However, with your example a clear cut reason to support the above, when, on another hand it might not be so clear as this one, it is better to stay honest just in case it will matter to partner, since not to do so, might (and likely would) be a death blow to that partnership, lasting for a far longer time, leading to a breakup.

He also, who only sits and waits, often plays an important role in ultimate success, and everyone should want to become a member of that club.

Finally, IMO, West’s hand leading a heart, should always happen and in your last scenario, very simply I can make all kinds of what ifs and lonely suggestions, but the winning answer is, simply make and attempt to get even with all the unlucky players who are suffering from TOCM and instead, simply DAMN THE TORPEDOES, and guess right!