Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 29th, 2021


Iain ClimieDecember 13th, 2021 at 6:04 pm

Hi Bobby,

I accept 3N could be wrong here (North holds xx KJxx AKxx Q9x and a club is lead from AJxxx) but can’t help feeling South wanted to play the hand. I suspect there are more hands where 3N is right but a computer simulation would be needed to che k plus EW have to find the right lead of course.



bobbywolffDecember 13th, 2021 at 7:02 pm

Hi Iain,

I totally agree with you, but lack the simulation necessary to prove that 3NT would be a better final contract, than the 4 spades which, in reality was bid.

Whether it was wanting to be declarer (which many bridge players cherish) is the inherent reason I, of course, do not either know. And do not forget, all four players benefit from more informative bidding, including those awful opponents.

If scientifically inclined, perhaps 2 hearts, if forcing (probably not), or a partnership conventional force might serve to advantage, (especially if partner now bid clubs), but that point was mute when this column was offered, with only the “play being the thing (Shakespeare’s famous quote) “in order to gain the conscience of the king”, but he likely was not talking (nor thinking), about bridge.

Besides, if we get across our main thought about how to, while writing, we would not be inclined to admit overlook, but in fact, others might and perhaps justifiably.

Thanks for your comment and glad to suspect that the ugly pandemic has not, nor yet, damaged your keen bridge brain.

David SnookDecember 13th, 2021 at 7:32 pm


I looked and looked at that hand and thought I had it figured out, almost exactly the way it’s played in your narrative, Bobby…

Hold up on the first heart, then eventually dump my heart loser on the third diamond.

But as I worked thru different permutations on paper, I tried having West lead a club on the second trick and it sure looks like that throws a monkey wrench into the scheme of things.

Yes, N can take that club, lead back to hand where trumps are drawn and play the ace of hearts, cutting communications between E & W. Now S plays a diamond, intending to lose to E. Back on lead, E plays a second club, putting N back on lead. N can play a second diamond to E’s ace but is now locked out of dummy and has no way to play the losing heart on the 3rd diamond.

I’ve played this out about 5 or 6 times now and keep coming to the same conclusion. S needs to hold up on the first heart and if W leads a club for the second trick, doesn’t that scuttle N-S’s plans?

If that works for the defense, a club lead on trick 2, I’m guessing the issue is finding that lead in the first place?

Iain ClimieDecember 13th, 2021 at 7:53 pm

Hi David,

I think you’re onto something here although there is still a problem for East. If West leads CQ, declarer wins and draws trumps but now might fear South having C10x left so won’t lay another club. West should maybe lead a deceptive small club when East knows that South doesn’t have a fast discard not CQ10x or he’d have run the lead round to hand. The nightmare from West’s viewpoint though is that East might have HA86 it might be vital for EW to take their tricks asap, especially at pairs. It is odds against declarer having (say) KQJ10xxx xx AQ xx but you’ll never here the last of it if you don’t cash out at matchpoints.



Iain ClimieDecember 13th, 2021 at 9:35 pm

Sorry for the typos e.g. here instead of hear!

David SnookDecember 13th, 2021 at 10:04 pm

That’s what I thought W needed to do, Iain… lead a small club…

I know it’s quite a different affair, playing all four hands when you can see them all… and even w/ that advantage, it was still hard to see that club lead on trick two possibly leading to a good outcome for E-W.

If W does lead a low club, it looks like N-S is in trouble.

And it looks to me like such a counter-intuitive play that it’s simply hard to come up w/ it.

Thank you, Iain!

bobbywolffDecember 13th, 2021 at 11:03 pm

Hi David & Iain,

Yes David, as Iain says, he thinks you are on to something. And that something results in a set, but what else is new?

Thanks for pointing out what the column neglects to discuss, but it is common practice to us, often because of our space restrictions, to bounce around, and while giving a complete description going well above the number of words, we are allowed.

I’m really not apologizing, since there is never a time for us to be too wordy, just one of the byproducts which goes with the job.

However, thanks to both of you for bringing up the discussion, since this site is definitely the time and place to do it, since the education which accompanies,
is often valuable.

Here is a toast to either 3NT or 4 of a major, at least one or the other, the right final contract, even when it is made illegitimately.