Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, August 14th, 2021


A V Ramana RaoAugust 28th, 2021 at 11:22 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Perhaps east should be solely blamed for the debacle. East heard south open one NT , he is seeing eleven points in his hand and another eight in dummy. So west can have a maximum of eight points assuming South’s NT is 13-15. And west is known to have K of diamonds. With south having it, he need not play honor from dummy on lead. Now, what east expected by shifting to spade is not clear. In case he expected west to have spade K three carded, West needs to duck the spade. Dummy wins and south gets nine tricks without touching hearts as south gets one spade, three or four hearts and four or five clubs. And if west doesn’t have a spade honor, he can have either club or heart honor which is a potential entry for cashing diamonds in case west has ten too. So, east must continue diamonds for any chance of defeating the contract. Ironically, had even west led a heart, the contract must go down unless south plays club J from dummy pinning west’s ten which perhaps is a little farfetched and after the routine club to Q in hand, south doesn’t have second entry to dummy

Iain ClimieAugust 28th, 2021 at 11:30 am


I think East can also work out that South has the D10 or he’d surely play low from dummy at T1.



A V Ramana RaoAugust 28th, 2021 at 11:43 am

Hi lain
Yes of course, easy inference for east to deduce south doesn’t have ten either.
Thanks and regards

Bobby WolffAugust 28th, 2021 at 12:11 pm

Hi AVRR and Iain,

And which you did not mention, even if partner had started with only 4 diamonds (assuming the lead was fourth highest), together with the queen play from dummy, should have alerted East that a diamond return would mean at least 3 defensive diamond tricks for the defense.

However and no doubt, we all need some help from the opponents because without it, they will never, by definition, play worse than we, allowing the result for us to achieve to never be less than a stalemate.

Lucky for us, since we have never made a mistake nor ever will, so every championship should be ours.

Whether the previous paragraph sounds like the beginning of a joke, and definitely is, it nevertheless could and should be our expectations, if we want to present an intimidating game experience for all of our opponents.

Thanks to you AVRR, for your constant superior analysis which, in turn becomes a vital part of gliding through the rudiments of most every subject hand.

And, of course a big thank you to Iain who often chimes in with extra crucial information to which many of us, need to be reminded.

Jeff SAugust 28th, 2021 at 4:52 pm

I can’t quite wrap my head around North’s jump to 3NT with such an unpromising collection. How did he get there?

Iain ClimieAugust 28th, 2021 at 9:47 pm

Hi Jeff S,

One possibility is that his team was down in the match and he felt obliged to try for a lucky game. It should have been several IMPs out of course.


David WarheitAugust 28th, 2021 at 11:25 pm

You say that E made 3S in the other room. I’ve tried but can’t see how the defense could have been that bad. I assume S’s opening lead was D8, but then what?

Bobby WolffAugust 29th, 2021 at 12:12 am

Hi Jeff S,

When reporting live hands it is often because of a bridge factor which cries out to be noticed, but done so by players who do their own thing, like the 3NT jump you see here.

Some partnerships (mostly medium to high level) do away with 2NT being a simple invite and play it artificial on the theory of, if there are 8 tricks or sometimes only 7, sometimes the defense craters or instead, luck abounds, so why invite just overbid.

I do not subscribe to that theory but some do.

Bobby WolffAugust 29th, 2021 at 12:18 am

Hi David,

My many years of experience have seen even very good players sometimes go off the rail, likely because of the internal pressure, but in reality, all one has to imagine is playing in the local club duplicate, just sit there and have the same type of fun.

Result being, players of equal ability vary greatly in result, not because of talent or lack of it (about even) but because of psychology and the simple fact of more players than not, do not consistently play up to their ability when they, for any reason, fear their opponents.

No rational explanation, but just the way I think I have seen it play out.