Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 31st, 2022


Iain ClimieNovember 14th, 2022 at 9:21 am

Hi Bobby,

In the crocodile coup case you mention (West holding CKJx), it is difficult to see how East can lose by dumping the CQ from Qx. South is hardly playing a club to the Ace with a club suit headed by the J10 for example but, if West has K10x the unblock is vital while it removes the pressure if West has KJx. In the latter case, although East has perhaps churlishly removed West’s chance to shine, I’d sooner have a partner who makes life easy.



bobbywolffNovember 14th, 2022 at 2:17 pm

Hi Iain,

Oh yes, my kingdom for a partner who makes life easy. However in order to act out on that theme as “the partner” a player, I guess even more so when the opponents have bid a slam, needs to be there from the second the bidding has ended, the opening lead has been made, followed by the dummy being seen by all.

At this point, before declarer has even played as dummy, the 3rd seat defender has to
already have started to think about the defense, with of course, having kept rapt attention during the bidding (I am now dreaming since there is usually no palpable evidence given). However, after declarer uses some number of seconds before he starts his play, both defenders need to carefully follow along and here declarer will naturally start to eliminate the side suits, allowing the defense to zero in on clubs, the likely final source.

From there, an experienced (and hopefully expert) player could and should seriously, think about the unblock since, by doing what a good player always does, COUNTS his opponent’s unseen hand as it develops.

All, usually necessary for winning defense with nothing more than the above required.
Then, and of course, usually not seen but, at least in the end of hand discussion or possibly the after game rehash, it should always be noted (even painfully), allowing relatively hopeful younger players to establish the right techniques to keep up with the
unknown closed hands, a practice worth its weight in gold if bridge success is desired to be in the cards,

Iain ClimieNovember 14th, 2022 at 2:26 pm

Hi Bobby,

Many thanks for that and have you any thoughts on the bidding problem I raised on November 11th?



bobbywolffNovember 14th, 2022 at 6:36 pm

Hi Iain,

Sorry for lazily not answering your interesting bidding query.

Unless playing with a certifiable overbidder, his double (of 3 spades, not 2) is indicative of substantially excellent distribution (surely not more than a singleton spade so I would confidently venture 6 clubs). He almost is obligated to be dealt l or fewer for him to have the semblance of playing value so I would bet my life, or even more so, yours, on making it.

How do i convince others of that? Answer being at the table when those hands (bless them) appear. We will even likely not even have to take a winning heart finesse, but at worst the king of diamonds (if in the hands of the enemy, figures to be onside).

Finally, I would go so far to say that the hand as presented, should be given as a sort
of test of the imagination of a perhaps overall expert to see if he qualifies for that lofty nomenclature. Strong recommendation to follow!

End of story! Only an unlucky catch in dummy and not the queen of diamonds (The Manchurian Candidate, remember), can and might be the unlucky moment, with a miss guess coming up.

Iain ClimieNovember 14th, 2022 at 6:45 pm

Hi Bobby,

I’m delighted that my 6C bid was in good company but I did forget to mention that my partner does like to “bid-em-up”. You were spot on about the singleton spade but partner rather cringed as he put down x Jxxx K9xx J9xx. A spade lead was taken and ruffed then a club came off table won by East who had to lead a heart. The finesse one, the HA held getting the 9 from RHO, a club to dummy got the last trump from LHO and another H ruff brought down the K. Easy game (sometimes). If RHO had 4H then I’ve got a possible red suit squeeze or other D view. RHO can be strip / show-up squeezed in the red suits if he has the DQ as well as the HK but if LHO has it we just need the finesse. I’d probably have fed him trumps and waited for the squirming (or not) reducing dummy to DKx and HJ and myself to AJ10 although then I can’t pick up an initial DQxx(x) with West. Might be better to ditch the H at the end before taking a D view.

That partner (hello CS) is huge fun to play with but he doesn’t turn up to pass and clearly thinks it’s a bidders’ game. All’s well that ends well though.



Iain ClimieNovember 14th, 2022 at 6:46 pm

Sorry, the finesse won – where did one come from?