Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, April 26th, 2022


jim2May 10th, 2022 at 10:41 am

This is the second hand within the last few days that takes an expert to fail to make it. (The other is the April 23 / May 7 one.)

All the finesses work, even a double finesse! The AD is onside. Trumps are not 4-0. No defender has a void or singleton for an early ruffing threat.

Iain ClimieMay 10th, 2022 at 10:44 am

Hi Bobby,

Very nice defence. If East is nefarious, devious and cunning enough to lead a small spade from Qx though (as his carding suggests) should declarer think he is also capable of dropping the SQ from Qxx(x). So, should East lead the SQ at T2?



A V Ramana RaoMay 10th, 2022 at 10:46 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
While east defended brilliantly, he should not have been given the chance as south misplayed the hand. Once east returns spade at T2, win , cash K of diamond pitching heart, cash remaining high spade in hand, ruff remaining diamond low ( totally safe, west did not preempt) and lead A and K and low heart. If east follows, it would be necessary for south to ruff high but today east shows out , south ruffs low and Q and A of clubs. West shows out but no problem . Dummy leads remaining heart which south ruffs and dummy is high with two unbeatable trumps

jim2May 10th, 2022 at 12:39 pm


Nah, too expert!

Finesse the spade on the return, draw trump ending in hand, finesse the heart, cash out.

“Such a simple hand,” said Mrs. Millicuddy. “How on earth did that fellow go down? And to think Camille pointed him out, warning me that he was a fair player.”

Iain ClimieMay 10th, 2022 at 1:10 pm

Hi Jim2,

Mrs. Millicuddy is S J Simon’s Mrs. Guggenheim’s sister or cousin I presume?

I remember Hugh Kelsey writing up a hand where almost anybody would have waltzed home with a simple line (3-2 trump split and/or finesse or something like that), but he decided to go for the absolutely best possible theoretical line after some thought which he later calculated was 97% plus (I think). Needless to say, the 3% minus option arrived! Clearly the cards do not love unlucky experts on occasion.



bobbywolffMay 10th, 2022 at 1:21 pm

Hi Jim2, Iain, & AVRR,

This hand adds to my opinion that at a certain high-level bridge competition, the winners will not be the ones who follow the percentage tables more carefully, but rather the ones who consistently read their specific opponents capabilities (certainly including their tempo), more correctly.

All talented very good players have a natural built-in mathematical bent for the game, but not necessarily a psychological knowledge of their specific opponents normal approach and thus to me, the latter is far more likely to determine the winner

At least that is the way I think it is and has been, ever since our beloved game became popular, at least according to Mrs. Millicuddy, a results player while Camille just liked his looks.

bobbywolffMay 10th, 2022 at 1:29 pm

Hi Iain,

Horrors, crossed in the mail,

Agree with your assessment and although the three % does not often rule, our hero may (should) feel it happening and somehow, magically this time, avoid it.

Iain ClimieMay 10th, 2022 at 8:53 pm

Hi Bobby,

Just to answer my own question on the SQ, no as declared switches tack, draws trumps and ruffs 2 pointed suit losers as South has the SJ. Now if S had AK10x or similar then the ploy might work.


bobbywolffMay 11th, 2022 at 3:22 am

Hi Iain,