Bridge Chestnut 4 - "Eight ever, nine never"

This chestnut comes from whether you should play Ace and King when you are missing the Queen or whether you should finesse.

Case 1

AJT43
K92

With 8 trumps here, the odds favour finessing for the Queen rather than playing Ace and King and hoping that the Queen drops doubleton.

Case 2

AJT43
K972

With 9 trumps, the odds favour playing the Ace and King, expecting the Queen to drop singleton or doubleton. Be warned, playing for the "drop" is only marginally better than finessing

In each case, you should give yourself an extra chance. Advance the Jack first. A sleepy RHO may play the Queen and solve your problem.

The main problem with this chestnut is that it presumes that you have no other knowledge.

This is rarely the case :-

  • If one opponent has pre-empted, it means they are more likely to be short in your suit. Finesse their partner for the Queen.
  • If one opponent has opened a strong 1NT, they are more likely to hold your Queen.
  • If one opponent has already showed 10 HCP and didnít open the bidding, they canít have your Queen.

However, the most common reason to play Ace and King even though you have only eight trumps is that you cannot afford to lose the lead while there are trumps out. The opening lead and play has convinced you that an opponent will get a ruff.

Be aware that, when you breach this chestnut, you may be heading for a different score to the rest of the field. Most will follow this chestnut. You need to be prepared to back your judgment!

Go to Chestnut 5 - Playing at the five level belongs to the opponents