Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, March 30th, 2022


Iain ClimieApril 13th, 2022 at 12:57 pm

HI Bobby,

In similar vein suppose declarer has (say) 9xxx in dummy opposite K10x or even Kxx in hand playing in NT. An early H to the K might persuade LHO with AJx or Axx to duck, placing declarer with KQ10 or similar and hoping for a later misguess or for declarer to waste an entry. Then South tables the 8 other tricks and EW start the inevitable discussion.



A V Ramana RaoApril 13th, 2022 at 1:32 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Just a couple of thoughts. South definitely needs two heart tricks. Suppose south wins the lead and cashes four rounds of diamonds ending in dummy meaning west needs to discard first. East must have given count on first spade but it could be doubleton or four carded. If west thinks that south holds four spades,( quite possible on bidding) he might just discard a club and secondly when declarer plays a heart to K in hand, perhaps west should duck. If Declarer places heart A to his right, he can lead another heart to either ten or Q, but since west ducked A, he might as well play Q which loses today but if west takes A first time, declarer has no option but to finesse for J on his right

bobbywolffApril 13th, 2022 at 2:46 pm

Hi Iain,

Yes, sometimes early in the hand and most times in No Trump contracts, a bold lead up to declarer might enable an uncharacteristic duck from LHO even when he had a higher card.

However to do so will usually need for declarer to know his opponents, particularly the mental agility of that same LHO, who strangely might be the more experienced opponent, rather than the newbie, who may be more likely to grab his tricks when 4th hand, without a thought of ducking.

IOW, yes the poker element in bridge is always possibly involved, especially when declarer is adept in deciding when to seek a contract making trick, regardless of the location of a key card or cards, while being the closed hand on offense.

Of course, nothing very bold is either 100% or anywhere near certain, but the best players (at least IMO) are not the brilliant ones in percentage, but rather instead with psychology.

Also yes, I have figured out a way to write in a way to which partner will have a difficult time criticizing me whatever the result, which in itself, has to be worth something.

Proving that sometimes, even when under average occurs, we can still come out with an unblemished reputation.

However, that doesn’t mean it is your responsibility to ever bring up a losing effort, but only to be mentally ready to explain, what your OX may ask.

bobbywolffApril 13th, 2022 at 3:12 pm


Yes, my above post to Iain has relevance to your comment.

However, the taking of the diamonds first might give very good players more key information to avoid a defensive mistake, in the discussed case, a hold-up.

Sure, the fact that you do not collect your diamond tricks immediately might very well be inferred by them, but by not doing so, it will still be a mystery how many diamond winners are present, plus their possible discards and their order, might help each other.

Against very good defenders (also whether playing IMPs or matchpoints) they, especially in and with simple auctions, will tend to better understand the whole hand with every card played.

Finally, nothing you suggested is necessarily wrong, only I think a very good declarer may decide to play one way against a known pair, but, a wholly different attack plan against another.

Swiftly, but perhaps vulgarly suggested, there are usually alternate methods to skinning cats and is for declarer’s best interest, to choose the one which wins.