Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, June 24th, 2020


Iain ClimieJuly 8th, 2020 at 2:14 pm

HI Bobby, Folks,

Can I just post some sad news from this side of the pond about Chris Kinloch who has just passed away from cancer aged 77. I played with him for several years in the early 80s and we were first reserve for the pre-Camrose trial in 1982; I then started playing again with him after coming back to the game in 2011 and he’d lost none of his skill and determination; we played in the Corn Cairdis last year, effectively a friendly match between the English and Irish Bridge Unions. He won the English National Pairs a few years ago, was a stalwart of the county team and a tournament regular who achieved considerable success. In the last few years he was also a very effective teacher at Basingstoke Bridge Club in Hampshire where he helped build up membership.

My sincere condolences to Helen, to whom he was married for 50 years, his brother Duncan, his son Martin, and the grandchildren.


Iain Climie

Bobby WolffJuly 8th, 2020 at 3:46 pm

Hi Iain,

As I am mightily trying to get today’s column up, by, of course, contacting my normally faithful daily provider, I, and all your worldwide bridge buddies, share your sadness with the announcement of your good friend, Mr. Chris Kinloch’s death.

His love for our favorite game was strong and no doubt his return to it in 2011, especially with little or no loss in skill, was further proof of his no doubt, constant thought of missing it, even while too busy to Table Up.

Also the fact that the two of you were close for so many years he, by matching your always keen sense of humor, would appreciate the well known reminder “People are dying now who’ve never died before” which to you and me is only
a tribute to him and how your commonality for our beloved game, likely always embraced both of your lives on this planet.

Our thoughts from all of us on your favorite bridge site are with you, on this solemn, but very engaging tale, especially to his wife Helen, brother Duncan, and his son, Martin, as well as to his grandchildren, of a life well lived.

Iain ClimieJuly 8th, 2020 at 4:30 pm

HI Bobby,

Thank for that but I was the one who took the long break from the game, not Chris. Trying to stop him playing would have been impossible I suspect. His competitive streak wasn’t confined to the bridge table; as a youngster he reached the quarter-finals of Junior Wimbledon playing tennis. He’s a sad loss and will be much missed.



Bobby WolffJuly 8th, 2020 at 5:13 pm

Hi Iain,

Sorry for my gaffe, but English is my 2nd language right behind all sorts of inexcusable miss-understanding,

Chris seems to have been a real competitor, in whatever he chose doing, a quality which is extremely necessary in bridge, if, in fact, one decides to take our marvelous game as serious as one needs.

However, my guess is that where ever one winds up after life on earth, there will be many fields in which to compete, since where else can we up the ante by either betting on it or at the very least, allowing our ego to rest on its result?

Bobby WolffJuly 8th, 2020 at 5:31 pm

Hi again, Iain,

And now speaking about bridge, that Buddha character seems to claim that wisdom will always garner good boards no matter what happens, causing me to wonder if he ever played the game and went set while always following percentage technique and, of course, never peeking at an opponent’s hand.

If so, controlling one’s mind may then be overrated, while playing bridge.

Iain ClimieJuly 8th, 2020 at 5:40 pm

HI Bobby,

No worries he was scrupulously ethical although he is the player I told you about the other week who, when faced with what seemed to be an absolute 50-50 guess, apologised to his opponents, took out a coin and got lucky.



Bobby WolffJuly 8th, 2020 at 6:05 pm

Hi Iain,

Do you think that if Jim2 ever resorted to coin flipping that it would always land in favor of losing or only mostly, with occasionally landing on edge?

Only on edge would be the problem since he could outsmart the coin by always going against what it suggested. Or could he, since TOCM TM is not known to be a dummy and thus have as great or greater power than Buddha.

Iain ClimieJuly 9th, 2020 at 12:04 am

HI Bobby,

When I was at university, My statistics professor was a guy caĺled Jeff Harrison. He started his first lecture with the statement that stats is about uncertainty and the simplest form is where there are two possible outcomes of an event e.g. tossing a coin. To show this he tossed one and it landed on its edge and somehow stayed there. Huge hilarity and a reminder that highly improbable and impossible are not the same!

I think the dates have just got it in for Jim2 though – shades of the Delphic Oracle in Ancient Greek mythology.


jim2July 9th, 2020 at 12:27 am

It’s true! It’s ALL true!

Joe1July 9th, 2020 at 12:58 am

I interpret Buddha here as teaching the virtue of acceptance. Not garnering good boards or winning, but rather accepting favorable and unfavorable trump splits, having the discipline to know that you played correctly, and enjoying the journey. Would always winning be true happiness? There are roots of this virtue also in stoic philosophy-Epictetus-and in modern times the serenity prayer of Niebuhr. What’s not to like about a well played rubber, especially if in the company of players like your group here, or Iain’s late friend Mr Kinloch?

Iain ClimieJuly 9th, 2020 at 9:21 am

Hi Joe1,

Thanks for that, and stoicism is to be admired. There again, how many bridge players dine out on hard luck stories, whether bad breaks, lucky opponents or partner having a brainstorm?



Bobby WolffJuly 9th, 2020 at 5:04 pm

Hi Jim2 & Iain,

First, who does Buddha think he is, imagine concentrating on emotions like acceptance, good cheer and top sportsmanship, when winning and losing is up for grabs.

Doesn’t he realize that basically life itself is totally involved whenever the winning or losing bid or play is up for grabs? How can anyone care about behavior, even radically awful, when the above is involved?

To act as he suggests, only shows the weakness of compassion, humanity and that complicated word ethics or better, borderline cheating, as not even in the ballpark, when, and of course, how can winning (at any cost) not only be the prime objective, but rather just the definition of salvation itself.

Just compare the feelings of winning or rather just breaking even instead of the other result, which word or words I cannot even find a way to pronounce.

Who is kidding whom about the necessity of going all out to chase great feelings instead of the opposite. Somewhere in the very back of my memory I vaguely remember the past in bridge and, of course the lesser important time of just living and first bidding and then scoring it up, not without the importance of gloating and better, just being nasty to all opponents, whichever convinces them to feel the worst.

In any event and whatever I thought before, the daily rhetoric in the USA has got a stronghold on me and my thoughts, convincing me to always go for the jugular first, then to be as nasty as possible, next to win and finally to find the most destructive way to make them feel with the eventual goal of doing away with all of them, the idea being the last person (if I can now call myself that) standing (with partner and teammates, at least to some significant distance, below me).

Finally Jim2, to mention Epictetus and Niebuhr and even Iain’s great friend Chris Kinloch is to get way off the subject where civility and humanity can even begin to trump hate, disregard, and the key word selfish!

Hopefully, this phase above will eventually fade, but until it does, and it doesn’t look promising, color me desperately sad.

Bobby WolffJuly 9th, 2020 at 5:16 pm

Hi Joe 1,

Thanks for your happiness with changing the mood to which we all should (and, no doubt, do) appreciate.

Perhaps I have been following the news and events too closely here in the USA, which together with the enormous politics incorporated with almost every thought and word have tended to make me sick, and no doubt, a large number of others.

My reference to bridge above is only intended to equate our favorite game to the horribly troubled times the whole world is now involved.

“This too, will pass” is hopefully the order of what I hope is a very soon day.

Again, thank you, for your intervention.