Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, 26 February, 2024


Iain ClimieFebruary 26th, 2024 at 11:29 am

HI Bobby,

After seeing South’s mistake today (not ruffing the C7 quickly enough) I feel slightly less guilty about the hand I butchered the other day – a fairly early club ruff really does seem a bit obvious. There again, life is always much simpler seeing all 52 cars or even being presented with 26 cards and knowing there is some sort of problem.

Can I ask you a question which you are fully entitled not to answer. What was the worst mistake you’ve ever made at bridge, not in terms of the most expensive, but kicking yourself as soon as you’d made the wrong bid or play? If you got away with it, of course, so much the better and I suspect we’re talking decades ago here.

AS a simple chess analogy, David Bronstein drew a match for the world championship in 1951 (so the holder retained his title) but Tigran Petrosian won the title in 1963. IN one game between them TP had DB in a complete vice and was squashing him flat – it was only a matter of time before DB would suffer ruinous losses. In desperation he attacked TP’s queen with a knight, purely an attempt to ease pressure; TP, obsessed by turning the screws, overlooked it and bang went the queen and the game. I gather in the 1965 world championship, one of the US players blew a slam vs the British team by claiming but not remembering that he had to specify he was drawing the last trump and the referee changed the result to -1. Ouch!



Iain ClimieFebruary 26th, 2024 at 11:57 am

PS If anyone else wants to have a hair shirt moment, please feel free!


David SnookFebruary 26th, 2024 at 11:47 pm

And another wonderfully complicated, confusing hand that took 6 or 7 tries to figure out…

Having said that, let’s give it a try…

South takes the club lead in hand and must start in on diamonds immediately, playing a low diamond from hand. I believe West would duck this and declarer would play the nine or ten from dummy, hoping to draw one of the missing diamond honors from East.


Given that East has only one diamond to protect the king, with the ace sitting above, I believe East would lay the ace down and get a trick while it’s there to take. I suspect East’s best play to get off lead at this point would be a club, which declarer takes on the table.

Back on lead, I play the diamond jack from hand, which I hope will draw the queen from West. Whether or not West ducks the jack, when East plays the three I’m beginning to feel home free.

Finally I can start in on trump. In the end, I can put East on lead and and make him (or her) lead away from the ace of hearts.

Does that work?

To me, it looks like I really must play on diamonds first, before working on trump.