Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, January 12th, 2022


jim2January 26th, 2022 at 12:37 pm

Declarer’s mistake seems hard to excuse because the count of the defenders’ hands has become almost complete.

That is, when West shows out on the third heart and East discloses the diamond void, West has been revealed to have begun either 4-2-6-1, or 3-2-6-2.

If West had four spades, the hand cannot be made as West will always win the AD and cash the 13th spade.

Iain ClimieJanuary 26th, 2022 at 2:18 pm

Hi Bobby,

East really should play the SQ at T1 unless the partnership leads the lowest from xxx – West must have the SJ or SK. No difference in the latter case but a bit of a problem for West if East has a think at T1 (unauthorized info rears its ugly head), so maybe A then a small one back is not as culpable as it looks. If East had the DA the defence is easier as West is marked with zilch but then East can just clear the spades.



bobbywolffJanuary 26th, 2022 at 2:46 pm

Hi Jim2,

You continue to live up to your now known reputation, a man of few words, but always directly right on fault, intention and result.

Another pertaining faction to today’s hand, East’s failure to play the queen of spades at trick one, therein allowing declarer to theoretically succeed. Since the non playing of the ace, but rather the queen (third hand high principle) is necessary might it not take at least a moment to decide? Then, if so, would it be ethical for West, if he got in earlier than expected, to play partner for the ace, since he didn’t play it at trick one, but instead chose the queen, but after some thought.

Those questions are not easy to judge, but thankfully, because of the way the hand played out, West never had to be influenced by the hesitation, assuming one took place. Of course if East had been dealt an extra low spade and the subject hand was laid out differently, declarer having AKQxx in hearts, but only Kx in diamonds, that difficult ethics question might just come to light.

Making bridge, with its special table ethics necessary for fairness, sometimes very difficult for first TD’s to make a decision, no doubt followed by a committee chosen to decide an IMO close to impossible task.

And what better place to lay out could have been,, than among this illustrious group of bridge experts.

bobbywolffJanuary 26th, 2022 at 2:58 pm

Hi Iain,

Not until after I had finished my above post did I see your thoughtful (and same subject) query.

Yes, likely there are several subjects left unsaid, allowing first TDs and then august committees many thoughts to consider, just (at least to me) making bridge such a great mind competition sometimes involving fast or slow play to possibly unethically influence the end result.