Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, February 1st, 2022


Iain ClimieFebruary 15th, 2022 at 10:20 am

Hi Bobby,

TOCM could strike here, though. What if South holds Jxxxx KQ KQJ AKQ? To be far, crossing to the DA and leading the SQ would then be a better chance of inducing a defensive blunder but the fact that declarer hasn’t done that could convince West to rise with the Ace.





Mircea GiurgeuFebruary 15th, 2022 at 2:10 pm

Hi Bobby,

How do you decide when to open 11p hands like North’s?

bobbywolffFebruary 15th, 2022 at 2:20 pm

Hi Iain,

While your example is certainly possible, West may ask himself why his partner played the jack while holding Jx on the initial club 10 opening lead.

However and no doubt, the blustery declarer play of the king of spades from South was exactly the wrong thing to do, and advertised the reality of his inexperience in at the very least, attempting to guard against possible defensive holdings which would do his side in.

Also, as a second subject to be discussed, might be the dilemma of eschewing a final contract of 6 spades for a cold 6NT, but, at least to me, not for very long (at least in reality), since transparent cards are not used and
who could predict the possession of the jack of hearts for the 12th trick, therein possibly needing a ruffing trick to succeed.

Perhaps declarer should have played more slowly and therefore wiser, than he did. A good pattern of action for declarer is first, and of course, to count his tricks, and then second and when enough are discovered for contract, turn attention to what could go wrong, and, if available, select a better way to keep it from happening.

Fast play may make fast friends, but not, at so great a cost.

bobbywolffFebruary 15th, 2022 at 2:31 pm

Hi Mircea,

Immediately, if not sooner, right after the hand, when analysis indicates it would have produced a better final contract.

In other words, by result merchants, who compete for ranking with words rather than at the table, expertise.

But what else is new, since that phoniness is alive (and not so well) in many ultra competitive competitions.

Jeff SFebruary 15th, 2022 at 5:41 pm

Hi Bobby,

A frustrating hand as 6NT is so easy while 6S falls victim to awful splits, but there doesn’t seem to be a realistic way of getting there. Except…

If this hand came up in pairs, would 6S be the consensus bid or would 6NT be the more-popular choice? Given his two aces and (possible) expectation that his partner has at least one more point than he actually does, what are the chances at that form of scoring of North simply bidding 6NT at his second turn and being done with it?

Best Regards,


bobbywolffFebruary 15th, 2022 at 11:17 pm

Hi Jeff,

The continuous battle, almost always at matchpoints (but not here), revolves itself around taking high card (or length) tricks at NT against extra ruffing tricks for the declarer with trumps, with the latter a consistent winner over the long haul.

While high-level bidding, through the years, has no doubt improved, it still is usually next to impossible to always or almost, guess right on a significant majority of hands, leaving it up to the fickle lady luck to dispense her favors.

At least to me, any pair who winds up at 6NT instead of 6 spades, has used up his good luck for at least one session of any bridge tournament. Not that what I say is anywhere close to 100% correct, but only that it is what I deem to be accurate.

Jacks of hearts do not always grow on trees, nor do defensive ruffs, in their time of need.

But a good postulate emerges and it often applies in our great game. “Always allow the winner to explain, not his opposite”.

Thanks for bringing up the subject.