Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, April 13th, 2021


Iain ClimieApril 27th, 2021 at 9:45 am

Hi Bobby,

How “sound” is North’s raise to 3H today given that it is a dead flat 9 count albeit with 4 trummps and the SAQ quite probably being well placed? My concern on undeleading the Ds if East played the J at T1 is that South might hold None AQJxx 109xx AJ10xx although he will probably still go off and East might have dredged up 3S with 6 despite few points. After all, with a few values probably including length in spades, East can start by doubling 2N so the 3S shouldn’t be taken too seriously.



Robert LiptonApril 27th, 2021 at 11:13 am

“suggessted” is a very good word here. We are taught that when partner leads a top sequence, then third hands high honor promises a singleton or the honor beneath. Thus, if partner leads the DK promising the Ace, partners Queen says either it’s his only diamond, or he also has the Jack. From, say, Q2 tight, we are told to play the 2.

However, fo many people, the Jack is not a “high” honor, and its play might promise one of those two hands….. or the J2.


Mircea GiurgeuApril 27th, 2021 at 1:49 pm

Hi Bobby,

Just a quick question not related to today’s problem: are negative doubles off when partner opens with a weak 2 bid?

A V Ramana RaoApril 27th, 2021 at 3:05 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Perhaps in this particular hand, the total blame can be apportioned to west for letting south make the game Once he led diamond, he should have seen the endplay coming . He could either have trusted partner and underled his honors or knowing that south cannot park his diamond anywhere, west could have shifted to a spade or a safe trump

A V Ramana RaoApril 27th, 2021 at 3:18 pm

Sorry , only underleading would help as south can dispose of the diamond taking spade finesse ( downright silly for missing this)

bobbywolffApril 27th, 2021 at 3:57 pm

Hi Iain,

Yes, I agree as to the limited nature of almost any 4-3-3-3 distributional raise. No doubt there is almost no side benefit with that specific distribution and might (close to should) be downgraded. This one is definitely on the cusp and in the old days would first redouble and then bid minimally with support.

Nowadays the emphasis is to go conventional with support, which in itself seems to have the disadvantage of allowing those pesky opponents (as well as partner) to better judge their overall potential (the enemy is always listening).

Also, and no doubt, while on defense East should play the jack of diamonds as he probably would while holding only Jx. Chalk these defensive situations and the solving of them up to good judgment, but the good news is that, while at the other table(s) the defense will be stymied with the same problem (except of course the always there fear of cheating, which in turn is just another horror.

When will our august committees learn just how awful (and especially at our higher levels of play) cheating can be and thus make it a common practice to have draconian penalties for doing so (even the first time) and (drum roll) getting themselves caught)?

bobbywolffApril 27th, 2021 at 4:05 pm

Hi Robert,

First, good to hear from you and hopefully we will again and soon.

Yes, your description of third hand play correctly covers the bases. Not perfect, but sadly, since cards cannot speak out loud, the rules you quoted have been judged to be the best we can do or possibly substitute a “mule” for us.

Thanks for keeping in touch.

bobbywolffApril 27th, 2021 at 4:15 pm

Hi Mircea,

Yes, doubles by the partner of the weak two bidder are for penalty, definitely not negative.

The above follows the basic principle of once a player has shown a specific type hand by preempting then his partner’s doubles are always penalty,

Of course that allows when partner opens a one bid and the opponents intervene at a reasonably low level, that one bid by partner does not denote a sufficient description of his hand, allowing doubles by his partner to be more valuable to ask instead of to tell.

In actuality, “no more, no less”!

bobbywolffApril 27th, 2021 at 4:24 pm


Methinks you didn’t mean to say what you did.

Perhaps you meant to imply that West had already cashed his second diamond trick, but to not have done that, would be gracing declarer with an easy make, unless he talked himself out of it.

I, just now, checked your above correction so please excuse my “jumping the gun”.

David SnookApril 27th, 2021 at 6:04 pm

Hi Bobby and all…

Haven’t read the solution, so let’s see if this works…

After taking the 3rd diamond and getting on lead, I play one high trump, then South’s one spade to the queen. After that holds, I trump N’s low spade then lead back to the heart king in dummy, pulling W & E’s last trump.

I play dummy’s spade ace and exit w/ a low club, dropping either the J or 10 of clubs on that trick, which ends up in W’s hand.

And is W not endplayed at that point?

W has no hearts to exit w/, and N-S is out of spades and diamonds. W can lead a club into S, which is no good, or play a diamond or a spade, which gives S a ruff and sluff, no?

The crucial play, to me, appears to be the handling of the spade suit, and making sure in the that the first club is led from N, and not S?

Bobby, thank you for the continued detailed replies you put up to my meanderings thru the complexities of the bridge jungle.

I know you’ve answered me twice over the last few weeks and I didn’t thank you for your input and continuing support.

I’m working a difficult job right now w/ crazy hours and free time is at a premium, for another 6 or 7 weeks.

You’ve been truly generous with me and I thank you for that.

bobbywolffApril 27th, 2021 at 6:43 pm

Hi David,

Anyone who appears to be as interested, not to mention enthusiastic, about our marvelous game deserves time spent by others to answer questions and authenticate correct bidding, declarer play and defense.

You’ve done your share by proposing an answer and sometimes, even more importantly, the reasons why. Making my answer an even compromise, with satisfaction the end result for both.

For those who love the game, what’s the problem?