Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, March 9th, 2022


Shantanu RastogiMarch 23rd, 2022 at 11:27 am

Excellent choice of topic this week Bobby Sir. Sometimes things that are obvious are not so obvious. For example in this deal what is very important is the count signal by east on first club a fact not so obvious. Sometimes to prevent declarer from getting too much information of defenders hands deliberately count is not given which if east does here becomes disastrous. Thank you once again for choosing interesting topics for learners like us.

best regards

Shantanu Rastogi

bobbywolffMarch 23rd, 2022 at 2:03 pm

Hi Shantanu,

Thank you for your very kind and responsive post.

At least from my point of experience and knowledge, methinks at almost all levels, the point of the defense giving count, especially late in the hand, is simply not reliably done.

Therefore West has to guess with his card chosen at trick eight, but since declarer failed to lead a high club from hand at trick seven, it almost surely denied an original holding of Q109, allowing the defense crucial information, but declarer had little choice in doing so.

Also, East may have discarded the jack of hearts (when declarer was drawing trump). denying the queen, but instead indicating the 109, allowing West to better guess what to do.

Yes, a count signal in clubs would have been crucially important on this hand, but to completely master our great game (which IMO will NEVER be done) is just beyond a reasonable possibility (with the specific club played, possibly also a hindrance).

Again much thanks for your uplifting words.

A V Ramana RaoMarch 23rd, 2022 at 2:16 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
The all important count giving by east plays an extremely important role in defense. But perhaps south erred in playing third trump. Now, west can even lead a diamond for ruff and sluff but south is limited to eleven tricks only. If he pitches heart from dummy and ruffs in hand, he can ruff heart but still to lose a club. And if he ruffs in dummy pitching club, he can set up clubs as they are three three but cannot reach the long club. Correct would be to ruff diamond before drawing trump or draw one trump and ruff out diamond ( yes this would go down if west led from a six carded suit and east started with more than one trump but south doesn’t have an option) , draw remaining trump and lead club to ten in hand. Now, ruff and sluff lands the contract as ruff can be taken in dummy with south pitching club and set up long club for heart pitch. Nevertheless the heart return is quite instructive

A V Ramana RaoMarch 23rd, 2022 at 2:22 pm

Please read ” if west led from a seven carded diamond suit ” instead of six

Jeff SMarch 23rd, 2022 at 3:39 pm

AVRR beat me to the punch on West being able to lead back a diamond and I am glad he did since he came up with a nice alternative line to close off that escape and force West to find the heart return. Well done!

bobbywolffMarch 23rd, 2022 at 3:56 pm


Thanks for your always complete, accurate and conscientious discussion.

While I certainly agree on the need for a count signal by East on this specific hand, I suspect the actual giving of count signals on often unimportant situations makes it almost practically impossible, or at least unlikely, that they can be consistently relied on.

So, at least to me, it becomes too much to expect, especially during relatively fast play be a competent declarer.

However, a really special type partnership may think otherwise and if this hand or similar is the first to show up, they will have earned their belief.

However, and in order to determine worth, any time that specific count signal is given, which, in turn helps declarer guess correctly, should, in fairness, be taken as a step backward for winning.

However, this subject might be classified, “SIGNIFYING NOTHING” or realistically, very little!

bobbywolffMarch 23rd, 2022 at 4:12 pm

Hi Jeff,

Yes, another truth on this interesting hand, and likely worth a mention.

However, from a practical standpoint, while never trying to digest too much while eating, sometimes the same thing may apply toward dissecting any one problematical bridge hand, but to each his own.

I, for one, am often told, why do I (we) go too far in discussing high level bridge, to the exclusion of more likely basic bridge, to which the large majority of players need constant guidance.

Perhaps I have taken their advice too seriously, or OTOH, for this worldwide sophisticated group, perhaps not!

Jeff SMarch 23rd, 2022 at 9:47 pm

Hi Bobby,

Space is always limited, but I count that as a feature, not a bug. It means in any given column, there is at least a chance that something was left unsaid giving us the chance to discover it on our own. Easter eggs!

And thinking for yourself is a good practice for real life. I’ve gone down countless rabbit holes thinking I have discovered a truth about a hand only to figure out that it doesn’t work. It is not wasted time, it is fun and educational and what more can you ask?

bobbywolffMarch 24th, 2022 at 1:22 am

Hi Jeff S,

IMO there are two necessities in becoming where one wants to be in bridge.

Good and diversified with numbers and having a positive attitude to which you have just proven.

Yes, with also bridge playing education while playing against the best players around and adopting the attitude you have just discussed. Stay with it and, in the fullness of time, you will be amazed at your progress.

Never let minor frustrations drive you away from achieving what you deserve
and search high and low for a partner, who with continuing “pep talks” from you, will share your love for the game.

Good luck and no doubt, it is definitely not wasted time.