Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, November 19th, 2022


A V Ramana RaoDecember 3rd, 2022 at 1:15 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Brilliant Michael found one chance of making the contract, the other legitimate chance being diamond J10 doubleton with either opponent. The contract would have failed if it were club K doubleton instead of Jack. But
” A good player is always lucky “– Jose Raul Capablanca , legendary chess champion . Perhaps the quote applies to bridge too

Bobby WolffDecember 3rd, 2022 at 2:48 pm


Yes, when one thinks of first-class players, he or she usually thinks of while declaring,
taking the best percentage line and, of course on defense, playing the cards in the correct order, to which best fit finding a way to set the opponent’s contract.

Sure, bridge, especially matchpoints, and, on defense, is also quite involved with restricting overtricks as well, making the combined tasks sometimes quite difficult, if not almost impossible or at the very least, improbable.

However, Capablanca’s quote certainly applies to our game as well and even playing in any one bridge tournament will likely prove it.

jim2December 3rd, 2022 at 3:54 pm

Did Rosenberg indicate what he would have done if the AC collected only small cards?

Bobby WolffDecember 3rd, 2022 at 4:17 pm

Hi Jim2,

No, AFAIK no one asked him, at least no one that I know. What do you think, assuming you were not a lifetime sufferer of TOCM (if that is possible)?

Iain ClimieDecember 3rd, 2022 at 4:52 pm

Hi Bobby, Jim2,

If the CQ were ducked we can surely discount the player with the K holding the J as well. So if the CQ holds then the CA gets small ones, then the C will probably come down. If East has ducked with CKJxx then this falls apart of course but would he / she?


Chess is an odd game in one way. There is good luck (e.g. I give my opponent a chance to play a killing move which he misses) but very little bad luck except perhaps drawing the best player in a KO competition in the first round. Mishandling the clock doesn’t count!


Iain ClimieDecember 3rd, 2022 at 9:03 pm

Hi Bobby, Folks,

A quick question based on a hand from Thursday’s pairs. Game all, you’re 4th in hand and hold K10xx Axx Axx xxx. After 2 passes, RHO opens 1S (Acol so may only be 4 but almost certainly 15+ pts if it is only 4), you pass, so does LHO and partner doubles. You decide to bid 1N which ends the auction and pard puts down A8x KJxx K108x xx. LHO annoyingly leads the CJ and RHO takes the 3 top clubs before switching to the SQ. You win in dummy, play a H to the A (both follow small) and take the H finesse which loses and RHO plays another spade. After playing the S10, how many tricks to you expect to take and with what sort of likelihood? If H are 3-3 and RHO has the DQJ for example, then he’ll be squashed flat by the last heart and +150 looks OK although passing 1Sx would have worked well.



Bobby WolffDecember 5th, 2022 at 1:32 am

Hi Iain,

Not that it is certain, but as the cards fell it appears likely that either LHO has the QJ of diamonds or at least one of them since if RHO has either he would have either bid again or opened with a strong NT, especially at matchpoints.

That is likely true since with both you and your partner passing the first round and then balancing, most would find some way to contest your one level contract, but, of course,
his side is vulnerable so maybe he respects that more than most. Yes, either +150 or 120 will almost surely be the NS plus for perhaps about an average board with EW giving up minus 200 at several tables.

Iain ClimieDecember 5th, 2022 at 10:33 am

Hi Bobby,

It looks all too easy doesn’t it but declarer had a slight shock when he went one off! I found the SQ from Q9xx (declarer having pitched a spade from dummy at T3) reckoning that partner (who likes to bid em up) would have replied with CJ108xx and a red Ace so I hoped for SJx or Kx. He had the former and a gobsmacked declarer saw the S10 lose to the J and partner cash two club tricks. Leaving 1S to stew would have been rather better as it turned out.

We’re playing a 12-14 NT but declarer reasonably thought I had something like QJ9xx Qxx Qx AKQ or even QJ9x Qxx QJx AKQ when the 13th heart will mangle me for +150. Of course on a different day I’d have found declarer with KJ10x but then such a hand might have passed 1S X.