Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, May 9th, 2022


Iain ClimieMay 23rd, 2022 at 9:58 am

Hi Bobby,

Poor West – if he’d held HKQJ he’d just have led one and kept ploughing away. As it is, suppose he leads the HQ. if declarer wins then he can’t get to 9 tricks before the defence get 5. if he ducks, West can switch to a club and South can’t afford to let East in so has to play diamonds. West exits passively in that suit and I think South is down.



Iain ClimieMay 23rd, 2022 at 11:00 am

Also, isn’t a small D a more rational choice here? After all if dummy had (say) A108 opposite declarer’s Kxx the % play is presumably to hope the opening leader has the D9 (although it is a fair guess that they don’t have QJ9 but do have at least one).

bobbywolffMay 23rd, 2022 at 1:52 pm

Hi Iain,

You are right and you are again right, when you state that a simple heart lead, likely thinking of leading it, but then simply overthinking and not, complies with Eugene Debs’ poignant quote of comparing a bridge wrong with a one against society.

Of course, every now and then, perhaps better said, then and now, offbeat second choices on lead, sometimes work, but bridge (bless it) usually pays off with percentage actions, and today’s hand is a clear example of West’s choice (at least in yours and my opinion), not following that caveat.

Other than the necessary clever declarer play by South, once West gave him that chance, much thanks to what you first gleaned and then shared.

And for closure, likely give credit to East, who likely and hopefully at a more propitious time, brought up that same subject, possibly, but unlikely, not nearly as completely as you, but perhaps with more gusto and even including a fist slap and even a tear in his eye.

bobbywolffMay 23rd, 2022 at 4:04 pm

Hi again, Iain,

Yes, if deciding to lead a diamond, my choice is certainly a low one, although some percentage bridge genius may argue for a high one, but, at least IMO, it is close to, if not totally impossible, to find a legitimate answer, since the possibilities are likely off the charts, non discoverable,
much too many intangibles, eg. (who and when needs to be on lead, location of so many cards in all four hands, declarer and defenders overall line of play, etc. etc., etc.)!