Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, February 17th, 2022


bobbywolffMarch 3rd, 2022 at 3:31 pm

Hi Everyone,

Today’s hand and its correct declarer handling, represents to me a common failing, likely within most all of us.

No one likes to go set, especially on a close enough to victory hand, but postponing the finding out of defeat is not worth taking an inferior line of play.

While apparently, by not rising with the king of hearts on the first lead of the suit toward dummy, it did postpone the possible inevitable, but while doing so, timed the play in favor of the enemy.

Nothing more than that, but by so doing, turned a hard earned plus into a disgusting minus, a result which a consistently winning player should never allow to happen.

No doubt this declarer pussy-footed when he needed to go all out, even though he had to find out the truth earlier than he desired.

Set me now, set me later, turns out all the same, but playing the hand correctly is what becomes important, whenever the critical news is learned.

While it is sometimes difficult to exactly determine whether it will make the significant difference between success and failure, methinks there is enough evidence here to determine what needs to be done and that fact (the ace of hearts onside, along with a fairly distributed EW layout) should stand out as necessary.

Mircea GiurgeuMarch 3rd, 2022 at 7:00 pm

Hi Bobby,

I played a bit with this hand using Double Dummy Solver and much of declarer’s fate depends on the placement of the opponents’ cards. For instance, if West started with J963 AJ6 T4 J952 the line of play in the column is correct up to the point when declarer has to tackle the trump suit. It is now fatal to go up with the king.

bobbywolffMarch 4th, 2022 at 12:45 am

Hi Mircea,

While considering your post, it is possible that we are not communicating,

When the ace of hearts is with West it seems that declarer needs to rise with the king of hearts the first time he leads them toward dummy and West, of course, follows low.

If it loses to the ace, no doubt the hand is lost (3 trump tricks to the opponents beside the club loser), but with the above actual layout, the hand does make, unless I am missing something big.

If this hand stands for only one trick, it will be the one when declarer leads a trump toward dummy.

However and no doubt, I tend to be wrong, more than I care to admit.

Rich HoustonMarch 4th, 2022 at 2:34 pm

It is also true that, on this layout, anyway, if playing the hand in the order first described in the column, that one can make 4H by the following:
Trick 1: Duck…..Trick 2: Win S in hand…..Trick 3: Ace of C…..Trick 4: Unblock KD….Trick 5: Trump a C with the 9…NOW!!!…Trick 6: Rather than an immediate DA for a club discard, which exposes you to a late D ruff, Play a S back to your hand. Then….
Trick 7: Now, play your H up to the king…….And….the defense is stuck. If West takes his A now, there is no late ruff, so there are only 2 trump losers. If West ducks, you now take your club discard on your Ace of D, and you have only 2 trump losers at the end.

Admittedly, this depends on the late diamond discard being available.