Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, June 3rd, 2022


Iain ClimieJune 17th, 2022 at 11:01 am

HI Bobby,

One small fly in the ointment here – what if West has (say) CQJx and splits his honours? Presumably declarer ducks, and unblocks the 10 just in case it is from singleton Q or J and West can’t mess up the timing by playing another club as we’re back to the column line with the CA winning the second club. If West has CJ alone, though, then ducking could be a disaster as East can overtake and give West a ruff, at least if he is awake. If that happens, is it time to switch tack and hope the clubs come in?



Steve ConradJune 17th, 2022 at 11:27 am

Is this a different type of example of the advice that, if one needs to develop a side suit, one should begin doing that asap?

bobbywolffJune 17th, 2022 at 2:18 pm

Hi Iain,

While you are 100% correct in what you fear, it becomes necessary to boldly duck the first club and take your chances it is not a singleton. Of course declarer would have preferred West playing the queen, if he had it, and in real life, he probably would have by rote, not realizing at the time that he is making it easier for declarer.

At the very least declarer, if in fact disaster struck on that unfortunate duck, could opine that perhaps with a singleton jack and quack to partner that he might have led it, playing his partner for a rounded suit ace on defense.

However, psychologically it becomes too painful to allow a surprising play (jack of clubs by “lefty”) to lead to going set in a hand to which it could easily be made if that single jolt was merely a normal play.

IOW, while along the Yellow Brick Road on the way to where one wants to go, don’t lightly and suddenly be dismayed off course by too vivid an imagination.

However, thanks for offering that possibility, which only adds to how great a game we are all lucky to have learned to play.

However, yes and since boldness has crept into discussing this hand, no room is left for wrong decisions since scoring up a slippery slam, often will determine the eventual winner.

bobbywolffJune 17th, 2022 at 2:33 pm

Hi Steve,

Unfortunately, since bridge, at least to me, is the ultimate mind game, partially because of the variety of critical decisions which need to be correctly solved, in order to achieve success doesn’t mean any particular strategy eg, setting up a side suit immediately or not, but merely to examine both the cards in sight and, of course, the other 26 which are not, and then decide the more likely combination of high cards and distribution necessary for success.

The variety of tasks to be followed will vary greatly, providing no single rule to always follow, except, of course, the one(s) which work.