Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, 24 November, 2023


bobbywolffNovember 24th, 2023 at 3:44 pm

Hi Everyone,

Between North’s and East’s overbidding while, between the two of them with their 26 cards, having 2 jacks and a queen between them (and not gigantic trump fits either), today’s featured hand looks like a vote for bridge suicide inc.

In any event, while playing with them, if they ever just passed, Robert Ripley (many years ago) would have written it up in his “Believe It Or Not” famous column as just common practice for bridge DAREDEVILS and bridge authorities are considering allowing them to go to the eight level (bad), but hoping to make it (it figures). Possibly true if there was a renege and the rules didn’t prevent it from happening.

Shantanu RastogiNovember 24th, 2023 at 4:01 pm

Hello Bobby Sir

Is there a case of leading club Ace with West? The inferences are:

1. North seems to have 3/4 spades, 4 hearts, 5 clubs and hence singleton/ void diamond. It seems unlikely that free bid of 2 c has come in on 4 card chunky suit.
2. South aggressive 4 S surely points to singleton heart and surely diamond ace.

So for west no diamond trick is available so his realistic chance is only club ruff.

I know it’s easy to say things when all 52 cards are visible.

Best regards

Shantanu Rastogi

bobbywolffNovember 24th, 2023 at 5:11 pm

Hi Shantanu,

First, I’ll start with a deserving comment. You represent the description of a hardened bridge lover, devoted to our game, and wanting to be the best you can be with a keen and excellent mind devoted to knowing the most you can learn (and pass on to willing others)
involving the highly expert and finer aspects of our beloved pastime.

Very simply, there is NO case, or should I say, no legitimate reason to lead the ace of
clubs. Sure, all you say has meaning, but that advantage will only badly effect your judgment, mainly because, like a not so well thought out
fraud crime, ripe with dangerous holes in that kind of thinking.
Sure, detective bridge work is part of what our game is all about, but whatever you want to call your evidence, requires one thing leading to another and if ever there is a fork in that road, and there are plenty in that type of thinking, the reason why you should, will explode with only smoke in the air, with not even an explosion to help confuse you.

However, there are many wannabes in bridge, looking to simplify getting very good fast.
IMHO, (if ever I am cursed with being humble) and by doing what you suggest is OK to
think about, but VERY unwise to give in to it.

No doubt, many bridge devotees, try their best to think of reasons, but do not get over confident in any attempt to believe anyone can ever accomplish what they want. Bridge is the MASTER and IMO will always be.. Just do what you have always done, talk about everything concerning bridge with someone you trust, but I sincerely think, no one, and that includes everyone capable of possibly being at the very top who will surprisingly find the smooth road to “top of the heap”!

Simply because there is absolutely no doubt in my mind, that comparing it with the usual suspects (usually chess) methinks it has so many challenges (like the one we are now talking about) we could spend hours, days, months and still not get close to knowing
how to conquer it.

David SnookNovember 24th, 2023 at 7:11 pm

What an interesting hand… given the fire power in West’s hands, I’m a little surprised South could actually make four hearts.

One question for you, if I may, Bobby…

After taking the initial lead of the diamond king, I chose to immediately trump a diamond to the table, then lead a high trump, reducing West to one trump, and East to two. Then I led the jack of hearts.

You said to lead hearts at trick two, and I did it at trick four. It seemed to work. Yes, after taking the heart jack, West can play the club ace and lead a second club, which East will ruff, but then East cannot put West back on lead for another ruff, and having managed to reduce my opponents’ trumps to just one in each hand, once I’m back on lead I can clear trumps and safely run clubs.

I definitely see the necessity of playing hearts before clubs, for sure.

I understand (I think) what the Scissors Coup is and accomplishes. Does it matter if I do that on the second or fourth card?

And I’ve been reading a book on game theory of late… somehow it seems very apropos for bridge, no?

Hope you and everyone else who passes thru here regularly had a nice Thanksgiving!

bobbywolffNovember 24th, 2023 at 11:15 pm

Hi David.

Can’t see a major difference in the difference between your play, with the timing of the declarer play of first ruffing a diamond and, or, postponing the first diamond ruff until trick four.

Only the mention of the Scissors Coup becomes the reason for including this hand, in spite of in real life, West would (might) have done it himself on opening lead, instead of the other red king.

Thanks for your good Thanksgiving Day wishes and, of course the same to you. Don’t
be a stranger.

Shantanu RastogiNovember 25th, 2023 at 6:34 am

Hi David

Playing heart J at trick 2 is the only way to make contract
If you do it at trick 4 west will return spade queen and you will have loser in each suit as west will cash a diamond when in with club Ace and east spade 10 would be setting trick.