Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, June 7th, 2021


Jeff SJune 21st, 2021 at 3:59 pm

Hi Bobby,

I don’t understand South’s second bid. Because West jumped in with a 3NT bid, South still doesn’t know his partner’s suit. Wouldn’t 4H allowing North to correct to 4S, if necessary, make more sense?

Interestingly, the 3NT bid was a lot safer than it looked. With a bit of luck, N-S could rattle off the first seven tricks, but a double would just see West run to much safer waters with 4C. Maybe a harmless one down, but after North presumably starts with two spades placing most of his high points, West can pretty much put the AH on his right (would North have passed with that card?) and play South for the JH using his one entry to the board to bring the contract home.


Iain ClimieJune 21st, 2021 at 4:17 pm

Hi Bobby, Jeff S,

NS could have had a nice safe 150 taking 6S and a H off 3N but a rather lucky 790 is so much more entertaining. Jeff has a point about that 4S bid though.



bobbywolffJune 21st, 2021 at 4:47 pm

Hi Jeff S,

Welcome to the higher level players union which is forever steeped in what might be called sophisticated bridge logic.

When South jumped to 3 spades, he, in fact, was showing heart support and was well-prepared to have partner immediately return to 4 hearts. Since partner passed West’s intervention of 3NT, he theoretically showed both hearts and at least some support for spades, when, and of course, South, without spade help, could have ventured the expected 4 hearts, but leaving it up to partner to make that decision.

The only fact not automatically known, unless discussed ahead of time, what would a double of 3NT mean?

My guess is that it is for penalty, but not used unless North (in this case) is 90%+ sure of his footing, meaning almost guaranteeing a set.

Also, and of course, reason that one of the assets of such logic is getting the play from the right side, which becomes true when West, not East intervenes, making it sure percentage wise that NS will at least break even and likely gain by making the stronger defensive hand be on lead, and up to what will surely be because of the previous bidding, South being the stronger NS hand.

Pretty clever, these bridge convention devotees, but not so easily deciphered by even a high IQ holder, who, up to then, had not the experience of high level bridge.

Your other discussion is definitely on point with only some guessing to be done (by both sides, bidding and play) plus of course, bluffs and counter bluffs, very much a major issue.

bobbywolffJune 21st, 2021 at 4:51 pm

Hi Iain,

Well explained and questioned, since I am sort of guessing the logic used, but giving them (NS) credit for being on the same wave length (not always the case).

A V Ramana RaoJune 21st, 2021 at 4:52 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
A couple of points. First, perhaps west should not have doubled the contract . The risk reward doesn’t work favourably. Second, after the club lead, west should clearly shift to a trump and finally, as the cards lay, south need not sweat if he plays west for singleton A of diamonds, not a very unlikely chance as south knows that West has long clubs and certain A of diamonds without which he could not have bid three NT. So after ruffing club, south leads small diamond and if some one wins with a small card and a heart comes back, south wins, takes ruffing finesse in diamonds and can ruff another club on hand. Even if a trump comes back, dummy wins, south ruffs club and ruffing finesse in diamonds with heart A entry. But today , D A appears on first lead of diamond and declarer has easy time.
And as can be seen, EW can save in five clubs for only one down if west can place H J with south

bobbywolffJune 21st, 2021 at 6:35 pm


Yes, everything you say is true, but maybe instead of true, one may instead, say possible, especially if East’s queen of clubs appears legitimate.

However, the EW hands could be very different, especially if West did decide to double.

And if not a singleton ace, he may play him for a doubleton ace, but the fly in the ointment might allow East to ruff a club with the 10 or even the queen of spades, on the way back to hand.

IOW, being at the table, sometimes does allow declarer
to be more precise in judging what to do, IMO a distinct advantage to experienced players who have “been there, done that”.

However, only playing West for a singleton ace of diamonds, with nothing else to be gained is indeed an unusual, but again, not impossible happening, but I wouldn’t want to bet the farm, even if I didn’t own one, on it.