Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, January 24th, 2023


Iain ClimieFebruary 7th, 2023 at 10:25 am

Hi Bobby,

Obvious (and good) play by the final South as soon as you’ve spotted it. It reminds me that Mikhail Tal, the Latvian World Chess champion 1960-61 in the Soviet era, said he sometimes watched beginners TV programmes on chess as occasionally it reminded him of something basic that could have slipped his mind.

Out of interest, what would you have led on today’s hand as nothing really appeals especially as South is the strong hand. A club is out of the question, a trump may give declarer a temp or pick up partner’s holding, doubletons often misfire and a diamond could easily be wrong, although not if partner has the Queen as today. At IMPs I might be tempted by a diamond although not if I were ever playing opposite Tony Forrester. Apparently he takes a very dim view of leading from an unsupported King as here.

One point here is that the EBU magazine “English Bridge” runs a lead problem column and has now started using computer simulations of the opposing hands to check out options. Huge numbers of hands are generated consistent with the bidding and the lead most likely to work can then be established.

Finally, a warning thought on BWTA. If partner has hearts and 4+ clubs we have a double fit – but the opponents presumably have the same in the pointed suits and we could get outbid, double 4S and write down -590 or worse. There is an unexpected warning sign here.



A V Ramana RaoFebruary 7th, 2023 at 1:46 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Another instructive hand. Playing low from dummy caters to either opponent holding K of hearts. ( Though after the lead, it is fairly marked with east but sometimes strange things do happen) And paradoxically, if south were to possess K of hearts instead of A, there is no way the contract can be taken down irrespective of what east does once west leads heart. So a prudent south player shouldn’t allow heart A to betray him

Bobby WolffFebruary 7th, 2023 at 3:16 pm

Hi Iain,

Thanks for your update on recent experiments, including the concentration on opening leads. A long ago (World War II), well-know. English bridge author, I believe named John Brown, (or close), once claimed that anyone who always gets off to the most effective opening lead when placed in that position, would win every world bridge tournament.

I would tend to agree, with the sad news that since (in those days) bridge cheating,
while already on the scene, always included the partner of the opening leader helping his partner (physical signals) choose that best lead. So much for our checkered past which never applied while playing that game, called checkers.

Table up and thanks for your valid point about double fits which tend to be very favorable, offensively, but likely the other extreme, defensively.

Bobby WolffFebruary 7th, 2023 at 3:34 pm


And thanks to you as well for your continuation of that discussion and why if holding the king of hearts instead of the ace it would be more clear of what to do for declarer.

Perhaps it would also be a chance for the late and great, I believe, Hungarian bridge writer, “Darvas” to include, while plodding through a full deck, when he arrived with the tale of the ace of hearts to say how proud he was to make like the king of same and unblock himself at trick one, in spite of him appearing to be one step up on his counterpoint.

Just another added attraction ever present with our forever loved and superior challenged competition.