Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, January 5th, 2023


Iain ClimieJanuary 19th, 2023 at 12:21 pm

Hi Bobby,

If North bids 3S over 3C and South bids 3N the contract that way up is cold while with spades 4-4 and West holding the DKQ North should make 3N too. That covers the threat of a trump lead against 4H too.

Hindsight of course but how often does the obsession with 8 card fits in a major (especially here when there is nothing to ruff usefully) go minus when 3N makes? I suspect it is more often than bidding purists would have us believe!

Given West’s holdings in 3 suits and East’s likely lack of high cards, a trump lead seems right. If North’s hearts were KJx and South’s AQ10xx though, so the Ace doesn’t block the suit, then can South get home – win the trump lead in hand, lead a D and duck when West splits, take the next H in hand and lead a small spade now. If West wins and plays a diamond, the SQ can be unblocked and the HK is an entry. If West persists with trumps, win in hand overtaking the HK, cash SQ, take D finesse and there are 2 club discards.



Iain ClimieJanuary 19th, 2023 at 1:42 pm

I accept that 3S may be ambiguous here (why not 3D?) but there is an inference that West has spades for his double.



Bobby WolffJanuary 19th, 2023 at 1:58 pm

Hi Iain,

Many excellent bridge players become the answer man in their community for the sake of settling bridge disputes, but you take that honor one step further by also being the question asker.

Yes, some 5-3 major suit fits are better off (safer) played in 3NT, but when considering only that, methinks it is above everyone’s pay grade to expect the bidding to come anywhere near deciding that slight aberration, because of the oft-times tiny high card or specific distributional change, plus, of course, the same for the location of the defender’s 26 ducats, which inevitably calls the shots.

IOW, let the opponents play the part of bridge god, while sticking to the probable tried and true task of paying heed to bridge advice passed through the ages from
the better players of our very challenging enterprise.

However, and no doubt, your subject often arises, especially when a conscientious pair, when faced with that conundrum, chooses the down contract. Just charge it off to the magnificence of the game we love to play.