Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, August 26th, 2021


Iain ClimieSeptember 9th, 2021 at 9:11 am

HI Bobby,

The same line works in 6N where there is no risk of a ruff. A little surprising perhaps that South didn’t try for that given he only has 3C.



Iain ClimieSeptember 9th, 2021 at 10:06 am

Also, as per Robert Darvas’ “Right through the pack”, credit the combined strength of North’s S9 and South’s S108. They ensure that West is squashed with any 4 or more spades but also with SQJx. Change the S9 to the S7 and west can escape by ditching his last spade from QJx (assuming East has stayed awake), although not if he holds SQJ9.

jim2September 9th, 2021 at 11:36 am

When I had this hand at the Mud Cup a few years ago, I sat (of course) East.

Declarer won the diamond, drew trump, cashed the KH, and then finessed the 10H.

As I entered the obvious zero into my private score, I had to listen to declarer explaining to the obviously-impressed North how the heart finesse was the only line that depended on only a single card being in the right hand.

Thus can folk play who do not bear my TOCM ™ curse!

A V Ramana RaoSeptember 9th, 2021 at 12:09 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Quite interesting hand. As it appears that any opponent long in both majors is squeezed but there is also chance for doubleton heart J to make appearance. And even if someone is long in both majors, south cannot execute squeeze by ducking diamond and running clubs. So cashing top spades and heart A and K is necessary for the Vienna coup though appears risky but in reality, if someone holds a singleton in either major, the hand cannot be made so that is the best chance and most interesting part is if south were in possession of nine of hearts instead of eight, he need not cash top tricks in majors. After winning second diamond, play five rounds of trumps discarding spades from hand. In six card position, someone guarding both majors already got squeezed and if south is not sure, he can play K and A of hearts ending in dummy and if J appears, overtake ten with Q to make south hand good. But today, as south lacks nine of hearts Vienna coup is the only way to play the hand

A V Ramana RaoSeptember 9th, 2021 at 12:18 pm

Hi Jim 2
Parable of Elephant and four blind men. Bridge certainly qualifies as one gets different interpretations from players of different levels making this a veritably fascinating game. My sympathies and of course having the gift of sight, perhaps one can see the Elephant very well

A V Ramana RaoSeptember 9th, 2021 at 12:22 pm

The last line should read
having the gift of sight, perhaps one should and must see the Elephant very well

Iain ClimieSeptember 9th, 2021 at 12:28 pm

HI Jim2,

WEre your oppo in 6C or 6N. I ssupect the latter…


Iain ClimieSeptember 9th, 2021 at 12:56 pm

Sorry, “drew trump(s)” so 6C. The 6N brigade would ensure you got more than 05!


bobbywolffSeptember 9th, 2021 at 1:34 pm

Hi Iain, Jim2 and AVRR,

North’s 4 club continuation “feels” like 5+ clubs, at least to someone who should suspect close to what South’s 3NT continuation held (fie on Gustave Flaubert’s judgment, since obviously he was probably never introduced to our sensational game. which at very high-levels, thrives on it, with this winning line of play a specific example).

Furthermore, if engaging in a discussion on the above truth, the very old commercial, dating back to radio, might have been, “Ask the man who owns one” except today, it would probably be slightly modified to substituting “person” for “man”.

“Little by little we can do great things”!

GinnySeptember 9th, 2021 at 9:37 pm

Hi All,

Is there anything to be lost if taking the first diamond, playing 1 round of trump (or 2?) and leading the diamond? I have not worked it through, but it seems like it would transpose 98% of the time with 2% forcing the second diamond winner into leading a major and maybe to disadvantage?

Do the odds change (away from the possible squeeze) if the heart 8 and 10 are reversed (South holding KQ103)?

And a question that most have, when do you know that a squeeze is going to work?

bobbywolffSeptember 10th, 2021 at 4:27 am

Hi Ginny,

While your suggested play doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t figure to help either, since no self-respecting defender will switch to a major suit, nor, of course give a sluff and ruff, and possibly East will win the second diamond and immediately lead a low spade through declarer while holding both the QJ.

Not that it won’t wind up the same, but your second condition will change if South instead KQ10x heart opposite Axx with North since two hearts could be led, hoping for the jack to drop and then try the finesse when learning more about the hand, but not so with the actual heart holding when the 10 is held with the short heart hand not allowing the information necessary in case they are 5-1 on side.

As to when declarer will know if the squeeze is working will be the moment East or West pauses to discard after the AK of spades have been cashed and the potential squeeze chance has materialized.

Of course, slower thinking EW players may give false reads, not unethical, but only trying to get an accurate count on North having a low spade left after cashing the AK.

In reality an expert EW pair will both realize that the declarer has taken the winning line, as soon as the AK of spades have been cashed, since they, like the declarer, have carefully counted out the hand and know it will wind up curtains for EW.

BTW, knowing the squeeze will work is never required work for the declarer, but through the years, particularly when a player’s game is at full maturity, he can foresee what will happen and many a top pair will concede, before all the cards have hit the table.

Thanks for joining us and by doing so, let’s hope that the learning curve for all of us does generally improve with the experience of doing it, or sometimes, just reading about it.