Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, April 23rd, 2021


A V Ramana RaoMay 7th, 2021 at 10:52 am

Hi Dear Mr. Wolff
Perhaps there were two way to make the contract. Ducking the first diamond and winning second one provided for a nice tenace in diamonds for south. South needed clubs 3-2 or even 4-1 when the singleton is a honor card . All declarer could have done is instead of leading a heart to dummy, is to lead club to A in dummy and lead a club. if Q or J appears from east south wins and hopes west has the other honor else the trick is passed to west. And if west plays Q on first club, he is allowed to hold the trick and if west plays J, dummy wins and finesses east for Q. As can be seen, this line will lose only if east holds Q J x of clubs, three diamonds and west holds A of spade. And if diamonds are four four, there never is any problem. Defense takes two diamonds, A of spades and one club. But today east happens to hold only one of the missing honor . Now with diamonds protected, South wins and leads a club for west to win
Another far fetched line is, having ducked first diamond, south could have ducked second diamond as well. Win the continuation and knock out spade A assumed to be with west. If east possesses that card, there is no problem . Now he will perhaps lose only if west held A of spades, Q J X of clubs with five diamonds ( that is assuming that hearts provide only two tricks. If heart finesse is on and the suit breaks, south has too many tricks ). But that is not the case today. South will win third diamond and lead a club ducking to east who is out of diamonds and south comfortably romps home

Iain ClimieMay 7th, 2021 at 11:07 am


Fascinating stuff and thorough as ever.

Hi Bobby,

Are there any computer programs out there which (single dummy, and based on bidding or lack thereof) are capabled of comparing the odds of different lines of play? This is all objective and a bit dry of course; as Bob Lipton pointed out yesterday, the pleasure of psychological coups should never be understimated nor should their effectiveness.



jim2May 7th, 2021 at 11:54 am

I confess that it seems hard to go down if one ducks two diamonds.

bobbywolffMay 7th, 2021 at 2:34 pm

Hi AVRR, Iain, and Jim2,

While the first two of you have thoroughly covered the bases in discussion and Jim2 has issued his keen rejoinder,, my answer to him is simply, he is correct, unless bad breaks in both hearts and clubs appear, which, in turn might be salvaged if the declarer does, in fact, win the 2nd diamond, serving as still another possibility of securing the fulfilling trick, as either the result of a different lie of the cards, or a positional advantage later in the hand, too difficult (at least to me) of exploring the different combinations of card distribution which could be present.

IOW, it may or may not be right to duck the second diamond, but the hurt to the head in delving deeply (ducking) is too strong a price to pay, just to find out.

bobbywolffMay 7th, 2021 at 2:48 pm

Hi Iain,

Do not know the answer you seek about computer programs available seeking out specific information as to which, naming specific holdings, will be percentage best, but, at this point in time, do not think so, but possible for a computer (and bridge lover who doubles as a programmer) to do what is necessary to find answers.

If such an angel is found, it then would still be necessary to compare that result with Joe Grue’s latest effort, likely making his bafflement impossible to calibrate just how often it would cause West to duck his queen.

f so, good luck to you or whomever he or she finds and, of course, is available to help.