Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, May 15th, 2021


jim2May 29th, 2021 at 11:35 am

What if West ducks East’s heart return?

Looks like declarer has to shift lines completely and rely on the ruffing finesse, but his luck is in.

MirceaMay 29th, 2021 at 1:27 pm

Not that it matters on this hand, but in principle, how should East signal at trick one (when dummy is void in the suit led and ruffs)? Attitude, count, or suit preference?

Jeff SMay 29th, 2021 at 2:19 pm

Hi Jim2,

You are a far better player than I am so maybe I am missing something simple. If South follows high on East’s heart and West ducks, can’t he just lead a second heart?

A V Ramana RaoMay 29th, 2021 at 2:40 pm

Hi Jim2
Once south leads a diamond at T2 ( need not even be diamond J) the contract is secure and no need for any ruffing finesse. Say if east wins and returns trump, and west ducks, with all suits controlled, south simply continues trumps. He can win any return after trump A won by west( if spades, win in dummy, ruff a diamond to hand) and draw trumps and three spades, five hearts , club A and club ruff add up to ten. And if east returns a spade, dummy wins , south ruffs a diamond, dummy a club ( essential , as south doesn’t know that the third spade stands) and again south has ten tricks as now two spade tricks are adequate.
Hope our host approves

bobbywolffMay 29th, 2021 at 4:35 pm

Hi Jim2,

We all continue to enjoy your answer man status, while when you raise a valuable issue like you often do, you then usually provide the solution (but only if one is available).

Both polite and very educational, especially for keeping the home team, headache proof.

bobbywolffMay 29th, 2021 at 4:58 pm

Hi Mircea,

A very good general overall question and I’ll attempt to answer it.

Although that type of question is almost never asked, my answer will be, that the third seat player should almost never think about attitude (partner can usually narrow that down to the possibilities created by his ruffing in dummy (IOW, almost always not led into a tenace (AQ example), to which declarer could hold so that possible meaning should be excluded, narrowing it down to count or suit preference.

For that answer, methinks suit preference is likely to be more valuable, but in many cases, perhaps greater than 50%, that defender must be aware of that information is possibly more valuable to the declarer than to partner, so if asked, he MUST give any partnership understanding previously discussed (likely never), but IMO it goes with, the caveat mentioned above, which can also be told (although it becomes vague as to what the responsibility is for that).

Finally you are right, it probably (almost certainly) does not mater.

IOW, similar to National Politics, “Yes for sure, but whatever, you, not I, are taking the risk for interpreting my answer”. (gobblygook of the highest order).

bobbywolffMay 29th, 2021 at 5:06 pm

Hi Jeff S & AVRR,

Since your posts are to Jim2 not to me, I’ll let him do the answering, but if he does, it might just be by referring you to the column itself which should answer, although it might take some back and forth for all, to fully grasp.

Jeff SMay 29th, 2021 at 10:11 pm

Oy, I am afraid the difference may be too subtle for me. I assume we are talking about the last line in the column that begins “If instead East played a trump…” at trick 3. So, South plays anything but the 7, West ducks and dummy’s last heart falls on the trick. Then South plays another heart and I am missing something because it seems like we are right back where we were with West taking his ace, returning a spade, South trumping a diamond, drawing the remaining trump, and cashing two more spades.

I framed my response to Jim2 as a question because I do not in any way assume he is incorrect just because I don’t understand his point. Hopefully, this longer response will help to explain where I am getting lost. Of course, neither of you is under any obligation to lead me out of the wilderness. 🙂

bobbywolffMay 29th, 2021 at 10:54 pm

Hi Jeff S,

The only so-called wilderness you are in, occurs often. It is basically a fairly normal situation with bridge declaring (and, of course, with its defense) to which the timing of the hand (basically establishing enough tricks for contract, before the wicked opponents are able to win the setting trick)..

No great mystery in what is needed, but suggests (this hand almost its poster child), three different possible lines of play with only the last one accomplishing its goal.

Any verified experienced player could attest to the relative frequency of such hands, (and many hands start out that way, but only a few, with this being one of them), exhibits reasonable lines of play, all of them, but the first two suggested fall short of success. allowing all of us to learn how to carefully declare this hand, without the unwanted result occurring,.

Do not worry about your thoughts about this hand up to now, just keep playing (and thinking why the winning result occurs) and most importantly, the specific timing (and why) does work.

It’s all part of the learning process.

Some good friends of mine have suggested my column to only delve into the simple episodes in bridge, so that it won’t scare inexperienced players away, but I differed with his opinion, calling the AOB column worthy of the kinds of sophisticated thought, we all long to possess.

Sure, it is both troublesome and sometimes hard work to greatly improve our individual games, but how do we get there, when the challenge becomes only that aces take kings and trumps take aces, if we would truly love to enjoy the difficult part of what our beautiful game is all about.

Good luck and TABLE UP!

jim2May 29th, 2021 at 10:54 pm

I am probably wrong. Today and Sunday are too busy for me this weekend to look at it again. I have lots of stuff scheduled at Balticon.