Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, May 31st, 2022


Iain ClimieJune 14th, 2022 at 9:24 am

HI Bobby,

Any case for declarer playing the SJ (maybe even the K) form dummy and dropping the 8 when a spade comes through. It is much harder for East to duck here as South might have S8x especially in the second room. Also, is a small heart better from table rather than the Queen. It is odds against East having HA alone but it seems like an extra chance to nothing here.



bobbywolffJune 14th, 2022 at 3:12 pm

Hi Iain,

First, you are indeed correct to want to discuss psychological tactics, particularly when they become a significant influence between success and failure.

Yes, playing low on the first spade, (likely not the king, since to do so, may negatively cause more thought by the defense, particularly East who may then be thought you are coaxing him to take the first trick). Instead, methinks the declarer should falsecard the ten, should East either win the first trick with his ace, or duck completely. By doing so, it unblocks the suit, while at the same time, does give maximum doubt (IMO) to East, as to how the spade suit was initially dealt.

While your subject is indeed a highly expert attempt to always make the play (developing quick wit is no doubt, a huge positive weapon for an expert declarer), to cause some very difficult hands to not be defended as well as they could be.

However, this subject is very difficult to master, since most hands involve different reasons for this or that, not always immediately obvious.

Therefore, perhaps it is always best for declarer to not play quickly at trick one (a habit the bridge laws say he is entitled to have), since no one that I know can think fast enough to always and immediately choose the right card to play (when given a choice).

And, as for your next point, I agree with your concept of not overly being concerned with giving up a very small percentage advantage, when the purpose of false carding outweighs a very small percentage risk, unlikely to happen, especially when compared with allowing the opponents room to make key defensive mistakes.

Emphasizing playing to win rather than the vanity of being an outstanding, close to perfect percentage player, but not seeking the greater positive trait of opponents making many more mistakes against you than others.