Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, November 6th, 2021


A V Ramana RaoNovember 20th, 2021 at 9:46 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
The winning defense is so subtle that it is difficult to spot it. South of course would have low from dummy even with Q 10 in hand. But just wondering what east would have done had dummy played K. East must still duck and if south takes heart finesse, west must shift to a club after winning instead of continuing diamonds. Another fine point is that the four four spade fit notwithstanding, four spades doesn’t make due to the mirror suits
And some good news regarding Bob Hamman . Today I read at Bridgewinners that
” Hamman recovered and heading home
After 3 1/2 months since COVID struck, Bob Hamman is leaving the last facility this Friday, 11/19.
Bob is almost back to his old self, albeit 43 lbs lighter.
He just needs a few more sessions of physical therapy before he can be on his own.
All is good!!!!”

A V Ramana RaoNovember 20th, 2021 at 9:57 am

Please read “had dummy played low instead of K in sixth line”

bobbywolffNovember 20th, 2021 at 2:45 pm


No doubt, when an experienced declarer seems to go out of his way to encourage the defense to defend a certain way (here, allowing to have his diamond king sacrificed without a whimper) it, in effect, perhaps should alert a third seat defender with the diamond ace, to reconsider what would come naturally. “win the trick”.

However, to do so and especially if East did not hesitate before ducking, it is easier said than done.

In any event, whether this play was actually made or not will likely always remain a mystery, but, and no doubt, it makes for good reading and even more valuable, allows players who appreciate logical thinking to flock to playing bridge because of the superior nature of this
sensational “mind” game.

Perhaps in the text we should have used the word “supposedly” before East ducked the diamond ace, but is anyone disadvantaged
by our not doing so?

And to speak about supposedly, even Jim2, who hasn’t received a fortunate break, since Hector was a pup, loves the game, in spite of his special and little doubt, original disease.

If he, with all his talent, but, for a long time, no scalps on the wall, can still, at the least, join us in our discussions it, at least to me, is proof positive that no other challenge comes close, (although chess players may argue).

Always thanks for your continued analysis, without which, many of our readers, would remain mystified as to the flow and the back and forth reasons for it.

Finally, and again hopefully Bob has completely won his battle against Covid19 and will soon be back in action playing bridge. No doubt the bridge world has missed seeing and hearing from him as likely among the best ambassadors and certainly players, for the game he loves.

Iain ClimieNovember 20th, 2021 at 7:43 pm

Hi Bobby,

Any thoughts NS spurring the spade fit herr, although 4333 can often misfire as here. The modern tendency to open 2N with 5 card majors shows that things change so should North enquire if the hand were played in the modern era?



bobbywolffNovember 20th, 2021 at 11:39 pm

Hi Iain,

The difference you mention is simply a battle between tactical vs. science.

At this moment in time, at least in the high-level bridge world, votes for tactics (being more difficult to defend, while at the same time having a lesser chance to bid to the scientifically correct final contract).

I’ve preferred the above method for years, but since those years ushered me out of the loop, others seem to now agree to seek obfuscation.

As far as determining which method opponents prefer, just like my doctor told Judy and me about the upcoming vaccine during the early stages of the pandemic. “Just keep your eyes and ears open and then get vaccinated ASAP”.

With your extraordinary “feel” at the table you should understand in a New York second, which mindset you and your partner should take, soon after greeting your well-schooled opponents.

Then is the time to make your move, fitting your choices to what you best think is the most likely way to do what you originally sat down for, TO WIN!

And don’t forget to help determine what they are more likely to do, which is equally valuable.