Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, June 4th, 2021


Iain ClimieJune 18th, 2021 at 9:35 am

Hi Bobby,

If West leads a small trump at T1 can the contract ever be made? South wins in dummy, takes the diamond finesse and then cashes the HA but the defence can then keep bashing away with spades unless there is some sort of squeeze and endplay on East if his diamond holding comes under pressure. All double dummy of course but South’s failure to cash a second club doesn’t really make sense.



Iain ClimieJune 18th, 2021 at 10:04 am

I just checked the squeeze / endplay and it doesn’t work unless East has a brainstorm and discards a diamond before South plays the last trump.

Robert LiptonJune 18th, 2021 at 10:12 am

Suppose, Iain, on a trump opening lead, declarer wins in hand, cashes two clubs, and leads a trump towards the dummy? I’m not sure that is the single-dummy line, but it is the double-dummy one.

Bob Lipton

bobbywolffJune 18th, 2021 at 10:48 am

Hi Iain,

Although a trump lead may result in a winner for the defense, it appears to be almost the exact antithesis of a reasonable defense (West, hoping to ruff a diamond for the setting trick without jeopardizing his legitimate trump trick).

Just another example of what tends to make our great game so unpredictable, but exciting beyond belief.

Add the above to the analytical skill necessary to both declaring and defense, and this hand becomes a poster child for that challenge.

Obviously Dame Fortune, the fickle, but very clever lady who deals, and our game then becomes spectacular..

Thanks Iain, for often volunteering a play by play account, allowing all readers to feel it happening.

bobbywolffJune 18th, 2021 at 11:06 am

Hi Robert,

Unless you are advertising for a defensive victory, that defense (eliminating a necessary dummy entry in time to guarantee a set) will eliminate all chances for declarer to bring home the bacon.

Who, probably no sane person, might have visualized such a thing, but for everyone well experienced, will be able to recall many hands
who perfectly (or almost) fit that enigma.

Thanks for writing.

Iain ClimieJune 18th, 2021 at 11:50 am

Hi Robert,

The trump lead, regardless of where it is taken, means that if declarer plays a small trump later towards the Q, West just hops in with the King and dummy is now out of trumps. As Bobby says, though, totally unreasonable defence.

On a black suit lead, declarer just wins as soon as he can, cashes both clubs and leads a small trump towards dummy’s HQx. With the King well placed he only loses 1H and 1D plus a spade, provided he takes the D finesse after the CQ stands up.

I do think South got a bit over-excited with his hand though; yes it is good but partner is marked with somewhere between nothing and not much. A useful 5 count was surely as much as he could hope for and maybe more than deserved.