Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, May 21st, 2022


A V Ramana RaoJune 4th, 2022 at 10:36 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Both yesterday’s and today’s columns can be presented as doubledummy problems albeit not difficult. And today’s column: poor west got triplesqueezed but perhaps east is responsible for the calamity. East knows for certain that south holds at least four clubs and instead of cashing that second club, if only he returns ten of spade, defense always prevails. If south wins in dummy and finesses diamond, though the finesse wins ( while it could lose to singleton J with west. Diamond K needs to be cashed first as in column line to avoid losing to singleton J in west hand but south lacks entries for doing so and running diamonds) south is not home. I. West can throw two spades and two clubs and there is no way south can bring home nine tricks. Instead, if south wins East’s spade ten in hand, cashes diamond K, finesses in diamonds, crosses to spade K for running diamonds, west gets a certain spade for taking the contract down .East should have seen the writing on the wall. Nevertheless, as played, quite artistic ending

bobbywolffJune 4th, 2022 at 3:20 pm


Yes, you have first analyzed and then proved, at least with this layout, (and no doubt many similar ones) your different defense, starting at trick two, would achieve a markedly different, not to mention superior, result.

That being the “story of, the glory, of bridge”, requiring guessing within certain guidelines and/or the overall bidding plus choice of opening lead, what East, in this case, deems, is the more likely overall layout (or close) in order for his side (defense) to arrive at five tricks, instead and before his competitive opponents arrive at nine.

No doubt, considering hands with similar, but somewhat random bidding choices, it becomes downright difficult to even come reasonably close with specific card combinations or even the perhaps easier, but still difficult, specific distributions with the two unseen hands.

However, none of the above does or, of course, even vaguely implies that East, at trick two, can call off the distribution (with any certainty) of both his partner, West and declarer, South. and then attempting to “guess” the specific cards held by those two unseen hands becomes a more or less close to implausible, but not impossible task.

However, and to the point, none (or little of the above) should prevent a very good or even a lesser experienced bridge lover, but mightily striving to get better while sitting East, from reconstructing what he thinks might be held (distribution plus high card content) with his two unknowns.

Now that we have arrived at trick two, after having won the opening club 10 lead with the king, we should then apply your considerable overall talent for justifying what you have laid out as not only the successful defense, but rather, yes, the winner, but one which meets the logical standard of the best (or at least the better) chance of gaining the “holy grail” of a proper defense aiming at the end result.

Others may attempt to judge whether or not they agree or not, but not without first firmly expecting a not so easy task of imagination as applied with the known facts East possessed at trick one.

All the above is only “fluff” in the lives of a defender, which, in truth, will likely occur somewhat frequently during the stage of being a defender against a close contract, while playing tournament bridge.

Finally, if the above answer to being in the position of East at trick one is unpleasant and then obviously not enjoyable to him or her, then perhaps that person will only enjoy the society of our beautiful game, but definitely not its incredible challenge and essence.

Thank you AVRR for the time and no doubt effort, you give those who are interested, alll the way to being enraptured for the opportunity to be involved with solving puzzles, and if so, please regard that emotion as being required to even begin to have a chance to be more than just a respectable ornament who only enjoys sharing the social moments, but not the challenging ones on the way to nirvana.

Patrick CheuJune 4th, 2022 at 9:47 pm

Hi Bobby,On yesterday’s hand if opposite a 5-9 weak 2 in either major for 2D bid South might have chosen 2S rather than to 2N to say pass if North is weak 2 in spades but can stand 3 or 4H by North depending on North’s hand,grant you possibly one could miss 4S if North held 9pts and 6S with everything fitting well and South’s 5 card spades may possibly prove too much for that bid?

bobbywolffJune 5th, 2022 at 12:33 am

Hi Patrick,

The evidence becomes strong that the responder was bidding game in whichever major suit North was coming in.

Possibly this NS pair played that an immediate jump to 4 of a major should be passed, rather than be converted, even if and when the opener had the other major.

IOW, that type of system (like most), needs to be crystal clear as to what future bids mean, without which, any hoped for partnership, is totally doomed.

Of course, waiting in the wings, are ethical restrictions, not in announcing a flawed system, but in being inconsistent in its details. IOW, taking advantage of hitches or outright hesitations which do not seem consistent with their version.

IOW, I, as a concerned bridge player, do caution players who love to play complicated conventions to make sure that the opponents do not have justifiable reason to feel that their opponents were taking advantage of unauthorized information.

Just another reason why children should learn to walk before they start running. Perhaps sad, but methinks our game becomes somewhat unplayable, if the above is not properly attended.