Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, February 24th, 2023


Iain ClimieMarch 10th, 2023 at 5:20 pm

Hi Bobby,

Too much trick cycling from the East players here? If South has KJx (quite likely – he certainly needs the HK unless West’s lead is from HK98 when South might have been less committal to 3N) he will surely get the H position right so Mrs. Guggenheim’s HA at T1, followed by the HQ or even H10 would pay off. Then, as you say, though, West can be squeezed out of a winning H and South romps home rather luckily. Actually put Mrs. G’s sister as South and she won’t see anything better than running 5 winning diamonds although whether she’ll play a club or hope the SQ drops is a moot point.

I encountered a very unusual sequence last night. I held 87xxx x J10x KJxx and RHO opened 1D, LHO bid 1H, RHO bid 2N (17-18), LHO cautiously passed and partner pulled out the double card (just as I had the spade ready) but he wants a heart. Fortunately RHO (a lady who is keen but not strong) ran to 3D holding KQ to 6 of them but also HAJ alone and partner’s cunning plan (holding 5 good hearts to the KQ10 and the SA) didn’t come to what would have been a very painful end, even at pairs. Declarer would have had 2 rounded suit aces and 6 running diamonds without having to think at all, but would probably have found at least another one. I explained to her afterwards why redouble would have given her bragging rights for several weeks although I suppose LHO could have bid 3N and let’s see if partner has the chutzpah to double that.

It reminded me of an old conundrum. At IMPs (or anything really) and favourable you hear the oppos unopposedly bid 1D by RHO (dealer) 1H 1N 3N and partner doubles after 2 passes unconditionally demanding a heart lead (no excuses) even though you hold xxxx None xxxx 10xxxx. RHO redoubles to up the ante even more. The answer of course is to grit your teeth and bid 4H hopefully finding partner with assets including KQJ108x and the DA when the damage is at least limited. At least you get to play the hand – a tiny consolation for wannabe hogs!



bobbywolffMarch 10th, 2023 at 7:51 pm

Hi Iain,

No doubt your first paragraph was both interesting and highly entertaining allowing Mrs. Gugenheim to play third hand high, (ace), but then choosing to lead back the six, since why literally throw away a perfectly safe Q or 10 when one doesn’t have to.

However, after that discussion ended, a perfectly normal 2nd paragraph which featured very aggressive tactics from all those involved, but highly charged with expensive results and possibilities to ponder.

Then with paragraph #3, you are asking us to believe that entire exact hand was dealt. If so, it belongs in a book, having only 1 chapter, and being named after Robert Ripley “Believe It Or Not”. At the very least you are coming to the aid of your party, giving them a critical choice since who knows what the accounting will agree.

No doubt a proper answer to the question of what you would lead, after partner’s double and you standing for it, instead of escaping to your void, just announce some heart, and hope dummy puts down his hand, allowing the person in charge of that game, to throw out that hand as unplayable.

Just perhaps my antidote is as close to the truth as your incredible imagination.

Iain ClimieMarch 10th, 2023 at 8:01 pm

Hi Bobby,

I seem to recall the third hand being posed as a problem many, many years ago back in the early 1980s but whether it was real or made up is an interesting question. Good point about the H6 being led back though – just when you think things can’t go wrong….

West might (I suppose) talk himself into thinking South has HKJ10 to East’s AQx after the HQ at T2 but then nothing will help much.