Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, May 11th, 2022


Iain ClimieMay 25th, 2022 at 10:28 am

Hi Bobby,

Well played by South in the first room but what was West thinking with the trump lead? With 4 fair trumps and the oppo almost certainly in a 4-4 fit, all he did was give South a cheap trick and extra entry to hand allowing him to play clubs. West can see that the diamonds are likely to behave, so should be stratign with the HA. Yes it’ll get ruffed but if East doubles the 4H cue bid to con firm a decent suit then the lead should be safe enough. Passive leads against 6NT, suit slams where you know suits are breaking badly and grand slams are one thing, but this small trump lead wasn’t so passive and got what it deserved I feel. I admit it is a poor slam.



Iain ClimieMay 25th, 2022 at 12:51 pm

HI again,

Also, can I ask from a single dummy viewpoint, how would you play 4S by N (or South for that matter) on a top heart lead? There are 7 top tricks so 3 H ruffs in the North hand would do it but communication is a problem. Two club finesses seem sensible if you can get there, but DAK and ruffing one low, although quite effective, is double dummy I suspect.



bobbywolffMay 25th, 2022 at 12:54 pm

Hi Iain,

A single hand played twice in the same trump suit, one made a momentous twelve tricks while playing a slam contract, the other only nine for a sad, down one in game.

A simple, but I think woefully accurate description might be what you implied, an unbelievable and unjust optimism by South with his five spade jump and
as you offered, a very poor opening lead choice by West (when holding four trump but not leading hearts), while defending the slam (whether partner doubled four hearts or not).

Methinks that your brief description said it all, leaving me to only add that my many years of playing has led me to believe that the definition of a good slam should only include whether it was made or not, allowing the pair who both bid and brought it home, the kudos it may or may not have technically earned, but, for the record, was undoubtedly, shall we say, not bad.

bobbywolffMay 25th, 2022 at 1:08 pm

Hi again Iain,

Since East was the heart overcaller and West only raised to two, the length in the minors, if any, figured to rest with West, allowing declarer to be lesser concerned with subjecting himself to being overruffed by West. Therein, while playing only game I would start out by going the diamond route, although taking two club finesses, if necessary, is also likely to be relatively safe.

Basically, if playing only game, almost all reasonable lines are successful, except, of course, what actually happened with today’s hand.

Iain ClimieMay 25th, 2022 at 1:49 pm

Hi Bobby,

Many thanks for that, much appreciated and seems very logical. These sort of hands are very easy to muddle at the table though – few obvious losers but numerous options to get the missing tricks. They tended to be the ones I messed up the most often in younger days.



bobbywolffMay 25th, 2022 at 2:58 pm

Hi again, again, Iain,

My guess, in spite of your modesty challenge, is that your total lifetime tricks taken, especially as declarer, likely averaged perhaps at least close to 3/4 of a trick gleaned over par per hand, that you played, a statistic which is wildly emphatic to your talent, not to mention your special type of valid intimidation, which, in turn, only adds to no doubt, many of your opponents, who unwisely spent too much time feeling inferior to your totally deserved confidence.

Bridge, naturally being a mind sport, tends to cater to such relationships, possibly similar to boxing in sports. only substituting bridge brains for body strength.

Resulting in “table up” becoming your battle cry, rather than first, just touching gloves.

A V Ramana RaoMay 25th, 2022 at 4:35 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
At the first table, east made life simple for declarer by returning club after winning club K. He should have returned a heart forcing dummy. Declarer can however prevail as both diamonds and clubs are benign. He ruffs third diamond low and when it lives, he can finesse club and cash another club and remaining tricks are scored on crossruff and defense just cannot do anything about it. But East’s club return is not understandable
And perhaps even with north declarer, thre are many ways to make four spades at second table

A V Ramana RaoMay 25th, 2022 at 4:40 pm

Sorry, there is a mistake. Declarer is left with a losing card in the end and the contract must fail if east returns heart

bobbywolffMay 25th, 2022 at 7:46 pm


“Believe It Or Not”, once the “Calling Card” for Robert Ripley, you represent a quality bridge players, particularly ones who have regular partnerships, need to have in order to achieve their maximum potential.

The ability to hone up to various mistakes
made during while both analysis and actual play becomes complete.

IOW, we all (and I mean up through the very best) fall victim to beaucoup mistakes (playing excellent bridge is just that difficult), as well as judgments while trying to play our game as well as is humanly possible.

If the above is true, then it should follow that the players who admit to error, happen to be among the ones who are the most successful. Particularly so, since their partner’s will always understand that by so doing, he or she is not trying to just impress others by their knowledge, but rather to “speak the truth and that truth will set you free” or something similar.

Especially so as pertaining to our scintillating game. Thanks AVRR, for all you consistently teach all of us who listen to what you go to the trouble of describing.