Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 3rd, 2022


A V Ramana RaoSeptember 17th, 2022 at 9:41 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Perhaps there are yet a couple of ways to make the contract. If declarer knows east started only four carded diamonds, he can duck the lead but would go down immediately if defense gets two spades and a diamond ruff in case East’s diamond opening is with five cards . Perhaps declarer could have enquired what exactly EW system .
And even after winning lead and four rounds of hearts pitching club from hand and cashing second high diamond : east is reduced to seven cards and his 4144 pattern is known to declarer as with any five carded black suit he would have bid that suit instead of one diamond . East must keep two diamonds, three clubs and hence only two spades. A strong inference could be East’s reluctance to let go a club which marks him with both club honors and even if south misses this inference, now he knows that east is left with only two spades, he can get out with a spade. If east wins both spades, he is hopelessly endplayed thanks to the diamond tenace with south. And if east wins first spade and west wins spade K, east is marked with both club honors for his opening bid . If west returns spade, dummy ruffs and low club from dummy ensures ten tricks and if west returns club dummy plays small again assuring ten tricks. Declarer doesn’t need third diamond trick due to the presence of strong club spots and if east returns diamond, declarer gets four diamond tricks. Bridge can be as paradoxical as life at times

A V Ramana RaoSeptember 17th, 2022 at 9:45 am

Please ignore first line of ducking diamond which works only if diamonds are 2-4 and trumps break

Bobby WolffSeptember 17th, 2022 at 2:00 pm


Always thanks for your difficult time consuming, but comprehensive, analysis.

It certainly appears better for East to forge a bit with his routine habits of opening the suit below the singleton, while holding any 4441, but instead, particularly when not holding a very sound hand, of a suit to which one should want led, obviously clubs rather than diamonds, when one’s LHO often becomes the eventual declarer.

Perhaps East then deserved what he indeed earned when declarer proceeded to score it up and finally, though changing the subject, right as rain, when comparing bridge to life where silly and preventable mistakes, so often change lives, for the worse.

Iain ClimieSeptember 17th, 2022 at 7:03 pm

Hi Bobby,

Suppose East starts with 1C and West kicks off with the C9. How should the play and defence then go? If South ducks T1, presumably the defence cashes 2 spades, the second taken by West and tries another club. Now South must win and draw trumps; the last one flattens East in the minors.

Something similar occurs presumably if the defence start with 2 rounds of spades and West then plays a club with East winning then switching to a diamond. The 3rd spade in one room was overly generous – presumably EW hoped declarer would lose trump control.

Just out of interest, what would you have led as West given that South is likely to be reasonably well set up to cope with a D lead?



Bobby WolffSeptember 18th, 2022 at 3:52 am

Hi Iain,

Close between a diamond and a spade, but really believe that a spade is preferable, with a side hope of finding a suit to eventually attack declarer’s trumps while holding 4 of them (especially after seeing all 52). However, you’ve now tacitly agreed what all of us have known, it works better to be LUCKY.

A V Ramana RaoSeptember 18th, 2022 at 9:38 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff and lain
Please permit me but an initial club lead may not be successful in real life. Say west leads a club. Dummy plays small, east wins and returns spade. West wins and returns another club, dummy wins and runs hearts catching east in triple squeeze thanks to the presence of spade J with declarer. Instead say east leads A of spades and spade back, west winning K and returning club, dummy rises A and runs hearts squeezing east in minors. And say east passively returns a diamond at T2. South can prevail by winning, cashing one more high diamond and running hearts. In the resulting five card position, east is compelled to reduce to A of spade, two diamonds and two clubs. Now, he is thrown in with spade A and either dummy or south score remaining tricks . And say east pitches spade A retaining Q , and if west overtakes with K to prevent endplay on east, South’s J wins tenth trick.
But that would what happen in real life. Doubledummy, east can discard both A and Q of spades . Now , west wins three spade tricks to beat the contract
Also when east returns spade at T2, west can beat the contract by winning nine not K and return club , now on the run of hearts east can pitch all spades and a club and is not inconvenienced but again that would be doubledummy and would never happen in real life.
A hand for the connoisseur indeed

Iain ClimieSeptember 18th, 2022 at 12:20 pm


Thanks for that.


Bobby WolffSeptember 18th, 2022 at 1:19 pm

Thanks AVRR for working overtime, but keep in mind that wages for your always superior analysis, stay the same.

BTW, when and if East returns a spade at trick two after winning a club opening lead at trick one, he cannot win the nine if declarer inserts the jack and now all future spades will need to be won only by East.
Therefore we only probably need to discuss the defense cashing both spades at tricks two and three.