Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

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


David SnookAugust 6th, 2021 at 6:16 pm

Hi Bobby!

Wow, what a terrific bit of play by McGann…

Keeping w/ my established MO, I tried playing the hand without looking at the narrative first and even seeing all 4 hands, it still took me about 6 or 7 tries to get the sequencing straight, and eventually I did!

Again, weel earned kudos to Mcgann for such terrific play!

Iain ClimieAugust 6th, 2021 at 7:07 pm

Hi Bobby,

I’m just wondering how good a contract 7S is, even on a 3-2 break. Suppose trumps break or west has stiff J and leads it. You draw trumps and now what? West has to have the DK obviously and will clearly have sole control of diamonds. Should declarer play an early HAK and ruff a heart, then cash the CA and finish the trumps shedding a club from table but eventually a diamond assuming West still holds control? To do that he will presumably have to ditch a heart as the cards lie today so now East, with any 3+ C and 4+ hearts is now squashed when the D finesse is taken and the DA cashed. We’re in danger of getting into compound squeeze territory here, which Clyde Love sometimes treated as relatively easy – provided you put the work in!

Hi David,

I hope this is of interest and if you can ever get a copy of Love’s “Bridge Squeezes Complete” you may find it interesting. As Jim2 would say, though, it can make your head hurt. Nonetheless, such books (and this column of course) do show the merit of doing homework so you can cope with surprises and awkward hands at the table.



bobbywolffAugust 6th, 2021 at 7:15 pm

Hi David,

Yes, it feels like an artistic soul would view a beautiful and award winning painting, but in reality, McGann’s play, while justifiably elegant, can not compare with the talent above, exhibited by the unnamed painter.

What it takes to execute that trump coup, as you eventually, but most definitely, accomplished by example, is to learn to time the play so that you wind up in dummy at the specific right time (trick 11) in order to successfully complete a fairly common (my guess is once in perhaps 300 declarer play hands, but far fewer when it concerns itself with a grand slam in a recognized and well publicized important tournament).

IOW, a declarer, no where near world class, like (99++++%) of players are generally thought to be, can, like you may be able to do, pull it off, if and when, you decide to explore the finer points of our many faceted, sensational game.

Good luck and continue to be impressed as well, and of course, while bringing your exuberant and very positive attitude to others who view them as only, all in a bridge player’s day, and adding, not worth the time.

Let them be, but always understand, they do not know what they are missing.

Iain ClimieAugust 6th, 2021 at 7:16 pm

Oops, my line may not work – what if West has Cxx (unlike today) and 4 hearts – can he ditch a club and keep a heart so now East can dump hearts. As I said, looks like a headache is imminent. Mind you, if West has Sxx alone, he is running out of room to hold 4+H as well as 6 or 7 diamonds.

Just out of interest, how would you play the hand single dummy on a trump lead if they proved to be 3-2?


bobbywolffAugust 6th, 2021 at 7:51 pm

Hi Iain,

And, as always, thanks for your always thoughtful and provocative comments, together with the challenge of determining the best line of play, assuming a normal trump break, but not the great fortune of the queen of clubs falling early.

Yes IMO, Clyde Love’s specialty definitely comes into play by after extracting the trumps, planning one of many possible squeezes to see the way home to success. Winding in hand and
of course, after a diamond lead, letting it run around to the jack (almost a certainly to succeed) then, enabling a claim soon after the trump break occurs, but with a heart lead, cashing the king (after trumps are drawn but one club honor is maintained in hand Then trumps are led from hand after the jack of diamonds is covered by the king forcing West to hold two diamonds and then squeezing East between hearts and clubs, having executed a classic double squeeze detailed in his book.

Please excuse any confusion caused by myself not being as clear as I’d like to be, but play it out yourself and see what happens to first West followed by East. The queen third in clubs (or longer) will vanish like the morning light does at night.

Warning: South needs to keep a club honor and will not know the club division till the last trick.