Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, 23 April, 2024


A V Ramana RaoApril 23rd, 2024 at 11:18 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
While the combination finesse could be better, perhaps south had another line to succeed too as spade break is benign. He hooks spade at T2 and clears spades. West ( or even east if west unblocks K) winning leads club but dummy wins, fourth spade cashed. West can let only a diamond go. Now diamond hook cash remaining high diamond and throw west in with club. South makes three spades tricks and two tricks in each other suit. South of course threw a diamond on last spade and not the remaining club

A V Ramana RaoApril 23rd, 2024 at 12:26 pm

On belated reflection, I see that west can play low on third club. East wins and leads heart for taking the contract down but whether west can resist the temptation to rise with K and cash remaining clubs. Actually south can do best by pitching a heart on long spade and now, if east wins third club , he cannot resist cashing diamond K before shifting to hearts allowing south to make the contract. To beat the contract, east must win third club and shift to heart and south falls a trick short

Iain ClimieApril 23rd, 2024 at 1:36 pm

Hi Bobby,

Vulnerable games are all very well but this is a shocker. It needs CK with East (or a club lead from the K), both pointed suit finesses working and hearts to play for 3 tricks. I think it is even worse than the following I played in 6C (!) back in the late 1970s:

AQx xx Kxxx K9xx (declarer) opposite xx AKQx Axxx AQx. I got a spade lead to the King and Ace, so SQ, S ruff, cash CAQ (all follow) D to hand and cash CK but LHO shows out. Cash the red suit winners on table and lead the last heart through RHO who (as the cards lie) had DQ and CJ left. That needed spade finesse, spades no worse than 5-3, D3-2, H4-3 and C3-3 or 4-2 with 4 on the right unless LHO is 3-4-2-4 exactly. I felt obliged to apologise to the oppo for my good luck.



bobbywolffApril 23rd, 2024 at 1:51 pm


Thanks for presenting your “other ” line of play for others to compare it with the relatively simple column line. Our main thrust, of course, was the correct way to play the heart combination, allowing others to gain a bridge teaching advantage by creating a fairly often
held mix of cards (in one way or another). In, at least this way, we, with help from you and a few others, can allow our readers to compare lines of play and decide for themselves the way to go.

Much thanks for your contributions, without which, there would be less good bridge to be discussed.

bobbywolffApril 23rd, 2024 at 2:07 pm

Hi Iain,

No doubt one of the great “feelings” in bridge is when one overbids (today’s hand is an example of both North and South choosing to overbid on the same hand) and then, leaving behind, two unlucky opponents who then may have to be judged by their possible ugly reactions.

Your post goes even further to likely creating much consternation which your partnership,
no doubt created, when you arrived at your less than lay down, club slam.

At least for your opponents, not their favorite bridge moment.

David SnookApril 24th, 2024 at 4:11 am

Would leading a heart from South on trick two make sense?

I’m guessing that West would take that trick with the king (and not risk losing the king on the lead of a second heart) and no matter what is led next, I can keep control and then finesse successfully against East’s heart jack, making the three heart tricks I need to make my three NT bid.

Is it safer or are the odds better playing on spades first?

bobby wolffApril 24th, 2024 at 2:15 pm

Hi David,

Leading a heart from declarer at trick two might make sense to some, but it figures to lose scoring up this very shaky (and overbid) game. It is not so much relying on certain card combinations, but rather the grace and percentage values to which leading one from dummy, with the idea of playing East for the knave, which will eventually be necessary.

No doubt bridge is definitely a percentage type game, with making best percentage attempts the winner’s necessity. Figuring out and then comparing percentage choices, with always
complete thought on play down the line (not just on the specific trick ahead) is restricted
to the better player, when overall planning needs to be thought.

IOW, your question is on point, but seemingly you are not doing the complete job of what may happen and, crucial, how to, in most cases (but not necessarily this one) what may happen, both if my then play turns out good OR not so.

Truthfully, hands like this one, will, even played by great players, will very likely not be brought home, but that, in NO way means, that the declarer did not take the correct view.

Methinks he did in this case (and thus fortunately) lived to both think and then talk about it.