Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, April 11th, 2022


Iain ClimieApril 25th, 2022 at 9:59 am

Hi Bobby,

A couple of queries about the bidding on LWTA. Presumably 2N is 7-9 balanced and forcing to at least 4N. 3N is thus just marking time, I presume, 4N is nothing extra to say (e.g. a decent 5 card minor) and probably minimum so 6C is based on a long suit and the belief that C is better than NT (and hogs the hand at IMPs, Rubber bridge or even pairs). Does that seem reasonable?

An example hand might be A KJx AQx AKQxxx.



bobbywolffApril 25th, 2022 at 1:32 pm

Hi Iain,

Today’s BWTA is probably a good hand for a bridge writer to stay away from and let others discuss.

Although good sense might suggest to remain passive, when leading into an extremely strong declarer, who very well may hold the AQ or its equivalent in spades, allowing declarer a trick he might not deserve.

However, standard practice has told the highly experienced bridge player that, while defending and therefore leading against a slam, randomly bid, that aggression is a better chance of defeating a confidently bid slam than would be passive.

IOW, hoping to find partner with a magic queen of spades forcing the ace and then another gamble of being on the right side of another natural trick, allowing the spade king to be cashed when and if NS are lucky enough to have that happen.

Of course, partner could also have the miracle ace of spades (it does sometime happen). Yes, most players (even good ones) would not attempt such a bold move, but all I can say is that odds start out just not being able to defeat the slam in any way, but for time tested
opening lead repetitions and while defending against confidently bid suit small slams, be extremely bold.

No, I hope not to be sued if it doesn’t work, but
I still suggest what many others before had the experience of “try it” and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the result.

How about the opponents holding, s. Ax, h. AQx, d. AQJ, c. KQ19xx opposite s. Jx, h. KJx, d. K10xx, c. Jxxx?

Rumor has it that it happened to a man in West Virginia once, but his partnership stopped at a mere 3NT, but still went one down and to make matters worse, his teammates allowed 6 clubs to succeed.

bobbywolffApril 25th, 2022 at 1:37 pm

Hi again Iain,

That Kq19xx in an opponents hand was supposed to be KQ10xx with the nineteen in clubs some other hand.

I’m showing my age with my proofreading!

A V Ramana RaoApril 25th, 2022 at 2:09 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Perhaps declarer found the only way to go down. While the line suggested in the column makes sure of ten tricks, he has even an alternate winning line. As after winning lead, declarer can ruff a club low noticing the fall of J, cash A of trump, lead low trump to dummy’s Q, again noticing east shows out, ruff a club high, spade A, spade to K for ruffing last club for an elegant dummy reversal. He can exit any card limiting defense to three tricks

jim2April 25th, 2022 at 2:20 pm

In BWTA, the opening lead is NOT into the strong hand. Responder replied 2N and would thus be the declarer.

Iain ClimieApril 25th, 2022 at 2:56 pm

Hi Mike,

Isn’t the contract 6C by the strong hand which opened 2C? Not 6N


bobbywolffApril 25th, 2022 at 3:22 pm


Doesn’t it make sense that even an expert declarer will make only a certain number of contracts via an elegant dummy reversal?

If so, why waste even one of them on another equally possible and, of course successful way.

However, some may think the above is somewhat illogical, and, if so, please ignore.

However, and happily accepted, thanks for your always additional positive influence and please keep them coming.

Iain ClimieApril 25th, 2022 at 3:34 pm

Sorry Jim2,

where did “Mike” come from? Slips everywhere – you can tell it is Monday!


bobbywolffApril 25th, 2022 at 4:05 pm

Hi Jim2,

Yes, the final contract appeared to be bid from the strong hand (East), making South the leader.

If so, and of course, I would then, assuming that I still held K98xx in spades,, lead low from that suit and be content, if not happy, at least until, I saw whatever dummy came down, more confident, about my choice since the weak hand (West), figured not to have the spade ace (and likely whatever intermediate spade honors), not held by my partner, specifically the queen.

bobbywolffApril 25th, 2022 at 4:11 pm

Hi Iain or perhaps Mike,

Unfortunately, upon reaching a certain age, Monday, the day, not so suddenly loses, or, of course, lessens its value, as an excuse.

jim2April 25th, 2022 at 7:38 pm

My bad, I played 6N as I thought out the possibilities of hand layouts.

bobbywolffApril 25th, 2022 at 9:45 pm

Hi Jim2,

You fell for what could be aptly named, “Bridge Columned”.

While no pair would (should) play a bidding system which allowed, much less intended, any particular high contract (game or slam) to encourage becoming the declarer from the wrong side.

Allowing 2NT to be bid by the obvious much weaker hand (and thus the declarer) over an artificial game force is a very sorry way to construct bidding.

Therefore, in the early days of Contract Bridge, when strong two bids (GF) were in effect, it became borderline ridiculous for that bid (2NT) to mean which, at that time, did, a very poor hand.

Of course, when then considering the plight of the bridge writer, sometimes, when only the playing of the contract matters, it may become irrelevant to so follow that dictum.

IOW, carelessness in the details can survive, if no one is prone to check it out, as is the case
with today’s hand.

Mea culpa, and so I will apologize to Jim2, ending his 10+ year streak of NEVER, AFAIK, having spoken with forked tongue.