Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, January 15th, 2020


Iain ClimieJanuary 29th, 2020 at 3:58 pm

Hi Bobby,

The reasonable alternative line you describe if the CQ loses to the King protects the DK but there is also the option after the CQ loses of playing a club back to the 10, losing only when East has CK and West has CJ. I think it is inferior to trying to ruff down the CJ first with the DA onside a remaining chance but we can all work out what TOCM will do to the locations of minor suit honours here!

Unlike the consumer society, choice at bridge is frequently a nightmare rather than a pleasure. It also flags a key theory of mine. If I play by “feel” it is usually OK. If I knuckle down and think long, hard and thoroughly, I’d be disappointed to get things wrong. The disasters tend to occur when I think things through partially or decide to override my gut feelings.



David WarheitJanuary 29th, 2020 at 4:52 pm

Iain: Your line of play: either the finesse for the CJ works or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, S will have already lost 2 C tricks, & W will now cash the HJ & then he will cash the DA or maybe E will cash 2 D tricks. Bottom “line”: your line is 50%; either the finesse for the CJ works or it doesn’t. The suggested line of play works if W has DA OR if CJ drops third, substantially better than 50%.

Bobby WolffJanuary 29th, 2020 at 6:13 pm

Hi Iain & David,

Yes, both of you, at least IMO, are indeed in one important aspect, one mentioned and the other not, vitally correct.

No question David is correct in both his conclusion and his bridge scientific explanation receiving an A+ from his teacher if indeed, he could relive his youth again.

However Iain was also correct as to a few players, likely more than some would expect, who may view the game differently. Simply put, those thought to be by many, a minority group, but in fact, not, view “getting it right”, whatever the percentages suggest, being the goal enabling “table feel” to rule rather than cold hard percentages, but instead, being at the table, receiving the jibes from the opponents and bravely, while reacting to them, go against what David so accurately suggests, and, of course (this time), succeeding.

Psychologists may claim that to do such a thing is a huge “ego” blast, rather than an overwhelming attempt at trying to be right, but I, for one, am not prepared to either agree or disagree.

Furthermore in conclusion, neither of you would consider budging from your likely long held beliefs, nor try and convince each other of their folly, but instead continue to view these common bridge choices consistently, each in his own way.

IOW, both of you would not back off trusting your views differently, and regardless of the end result, feel satisfied, as long as you did it your way, but if in fact, either in only one instance, possibly changed horses with your judgment, and then failed, would remember that horrible negativity for much too long and likely vow never to do that to yourself again.

No doubt, I, and others like me, have done both, and while I have not kept count of the results, methinks that always being scientific, while having almost every knowledgeable mathematician (and a wide majority of top players) agreeing on that choice, I, for one, am not prepared to offer an opinion, but even if I did, it wouldn’t and IMO shouldn’t, change minds.

Why?….one may ask, simply because we all should want to keep our own personality and although fully admitting to possibly being wrong, not fly to what others may prefer.

To each his own said the lady who then kissed the cow, but by doing so, felt fulfilled.

Iain ClimieJanuary 29th, 2020 at 9:27 pm

HI David,

Point taken which is what I suggested in the post as the CK is already proven offside in the line I describe so 75% no longer applies. If South really fancies his table presence (as Bobby suggested) and takes the second heart, trump to table then a club and East feels twitchy then the C10 could be right to ditch a heart and only lose 2D and a club. East might think about holding his cards up afterwards mind you. If C10 loses though then you’re off with DA onside so ruffing the club x must be better



Bobby WolffJanuary 30th, 2020 at 10:56 am

Hi Iain & David,

Iain, well said, with all the proper emotion and respect; however, what could be thought to be an elite player, who took the wrong percentage line, one chance (instead of the two), because of the ruff out possibility which succeeded.

Multiple choice answer to what is most likely:

1. Brilliant
2. Stupid
3. Intuitive
4. Illegally had gotten previous information
5. Baffled
6. Somewhere in between
7. As you suggested, opponent flashed hand
8. Unknown and forget it

Bobby WolffJanuary 30th, 2020 at 11:45 am


If the above hand and thus result is used as a Recorder aptitude test, introduced to the ACBL in Montreal,1985 Spring, concerning who might qualify as, at least being on the staff.

1. No
2. Possible due to negligence, but keeping in mind that stupid is not criminal
3. Possible, if the personality matches
4. Possible, depending on the security
5. Definitely, TBD
6. Unlikely, but needing to be defined
7. Possible and likely worth investigating
8. No possibility of applicant being accepted