Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 13th, 2021


Iain ClimieOctober 27th, 2021 at 9:20 am

Hi Bobby,

How sensible (or not) was West’s double? If partner has long spades, the hands may well not fit, the H honours are under the cosh anyway and, if partner has few spades, the opponents have a large spade fit so may outbid us. It is also unlikely that EW at adverse will have a cheap save. Loose lips sink ships again as South surely wouldn’t have played clubs like that if West had passed?



A V Ramana RaoOctober 27th, 2021 at 2:36 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
After the diamond lead , perhaps finding both club A and ten with west only would work but assuming on a normal club lead ; the first round finesse would be too ambitious. Declarer wins in dummy and try for heart tricks playing top down and would prevail unless west finds the imaginative jettison of Q and J. South can start playing hearts from hand and duck if a honor appears from West if he risks spade finesse. But if west can get rid of Q and J, east can push diamond J limiting declarer to eight tricks

bobbywolffOctober 27th, 2021 at 2:36 pm

Hi Iain,

While your advice about West remaining quiet and thought a “fool”, but by bidding, removing all doubt, turns out right as rain, North’s strong hand, however when West first spoke, was unknown to him, so therefore he might get a pass for not so doing.

After all, West was long in both unbid suits, and together with his adequate strength, as well as paying his entry fee, could be thought his justification, for competing.

However, perhaps a valuable lesson can be learned pertaining to when adverse bidding or not is also heard by those untrustworthy opponents, sometimes that gratuitous information backfires by arming a good declarer into success.

As to whether to do so or not, at least in my opinion, has no 100% legitimate intelligent answer, but to only say that successful players will tend to choose the right solution more often than others, but to answer how they knew what to do and much more often than their counterparts, remains a mystery and is usually just thought of as superior table feel.

At any rate, the good news for me is that it does provide bridge writers an opportunity to delve into the difference, as long as good listeners and analysts like you, are around to introduce the subject.

bobbywolffOctober 27th, 2021 at 5:52 pm


Although our posts must have occurred about the exact same time, you preempted me.

Lost again, but, as always, appreciate your to the point, very accurate comments.

It makes sense for West to follow declarer’s play of the ace of hearts with a major honor, but quickly, trying not to give too much information away to South, who may have started with 10x and then decided to reconsider.

Back to the crucial decision for declarer at trick one and of course, my take.

Yes, no one, if the choice is close, wants to go down before valid other options fail, but here I see little chance to succeed (against any reasonable defense) unless the eight of clubs holds, making going up in clubs an error in process, and then, of course clearly, not the right percentage play.

Sometimes the very small difference between excellent declarers is the ability to do what is more likely to work and postpone natural feelings of refusing to immediately feel terrible, if and when the ten of clubs appears from East.

And, in actual practice, while playing only against moderate competition, to postpone that decision, is to make a grievous error, something an aspiring player should, in fact, not, even for 5 seconds, really consider.

Changed 1 second to 5, since no one wants to take those kinds of chances (with possible and immediate horrible news) but, to almost quote Shakespeare, “The plays the thing in which we will capture the conscience of the King”!

Wrong everything for comparison but, I hope, easy to feel the similarity.