Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, December 8th, 2021


Steve ConradDecember 22nd, 2021 at 11:00 am

At trick one, in the third seat, the two most non-obvious important reasons that a defender must be careful about covering dummy’s played card or not:

1) a defender should not cover if doing so creates a later entry to dummy to set up a long suit, or

2) a defender should cover when he must not leave declarer in dummy right then to take a finesse when declarer cannot return to dummy without setting up the defenders’ long suit

I’m sure there are more than 2 reasons, but 2 is good enough!

bobbywolffDecember 22nd, 2021 at 1:04 pm

Hi Steve,

While you are picture perfect in describing what happened with the subject hand, I think your explanation, although again directly on target for this hand, is not necessarily the best form of teaching the game.

To amend the above with the description of East not covering the heart to advantage when the overall situation (eg. in this case South had to possess the ace of hearts allowing the 3rd seat defender a valid choice, 50-50, to where it would likely be better to deny declarer the ability to have an extra entry to dummy.

Of course, the long diamonds in dummy, often a major source of tricks in NT (or sometimes even in suit play) becomes strong evidence to not cover, therein taking away an extra entry to declarer to which “his loss is tangible gain to the defender who causes it”, the certain answer after due consideration, since declarer, not partner, is certain to possess the ace.

IOW, for whatever reason develops, all four players at the table need to fully concentrate on all hands, during the bidding as well as declarer and both defenders in the play.

Also the written rule of 3rd seat defender, at trick one, can legally (based on ethical rules) take his time before his first play, even though, like, in this case, he did have the king or did not, reason being, East needed to decide, if necessary, the whole play before he became ethically bound to just follow suit, here whether or not he held the slippery king of hearts.

Obvious, all those words in the last paragraph , need not be said nor later discussed, but would make it ethical, giving the defense a break, likely, in this hand, giving East an advantage he should be entitled to.

Yes, you were right-on correct with your concluding sentence, although that reason is only bridge related in the rules, to offset the many advantages declarer always have in the play (here, looking at all 26 of his assets instead of only the 13 cards in hand and the lead by partner), while defending, instead of declaring.

I’m glad you brought your thoughts up, since I appreciate reminding all players the rules of the game and, if either relevant or just informative, the reason(s) why.