Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, January 30th, 2020


Iain ClimieFebruary 13th, 2020 at 5:33 pm

Hi Bobby,

I sympathise with 1N on BWTA but might take an extra safety play (or possibly the coward’s way out) – sending partner off to get me a coffee or a beer so he doesn’t see what I’ve done. Then I can apologise for misplaying the hand (if I lose the first 6 heart tricks or similar plus others) without him actually being in a position to know what happened. It might need the opponents to help out by saying nothing though, and it would definitely depend on the partner. With some I’d also have to burn or delete the hand records.

If the club suit were always 4+, though, would you bid 2C?



bobbywolffFebruary 13th, 2020 at 7:34 pm

Hi Iain,

Let’s play unusual games and assume that you were in a position to not only declare the contract (but instead, with one bid), the final resting place to play, and by what declarer.

If so, at least to me, this would be the poster child for choosing 1NT, but with partner the declarer. Since both your partner North has opened and your RHO, East has overcalled, especially if both sides are vulnerable, with the opponent’s side more telltale (since opening one bids are certainly not vitally dependent on the vulnerability, but overcalls usually are) one can expect at the very least approximately 25 hcps to be around the minimum on average and we have a sound 10, leaving only 5 or fewer for West.

However, since our game is full of surprises and if both partner and RHO are distributional (especially highly), the bidding is far from over and I could certainly dream of a much different ending than all pass, if, in fact West then raised his partner’s suit to say two hearts, but especially three, and partner then bid something, I would surely almost be sure of game our way (likely in clubs) but also the prospect of a club slam would fill the air., since our high cards will become all or close to, working.

In fact I have talked myself into agreeing on possibly responding (what you suggested) 2 clubs instead, but even that change would not do justice to my hand, if in fact LHO has a heart raise, especially a jump.

All the above could be the subject of an advanced bridge class in a forward thinking school which had, of course, bridge as an accredited subject.

What fun (and challenging) it is to allow the imagination required to visualize potential slam while holding high cards in the right suits and having the bidding disclose just how valuable those high cards become, instead of the opposite, such as K10 doubleton opposite QJ doubleton or even worse if the K10 is changed to AK, whose 6+ (or 10) hcps mostly are waste paper for only one or two tricks between with no additional value together with both hands needing to find a way to take enough tricks to fulfill a contract likely to be too high since both partners have eleven tricks to cover.

Please forgive the fantasy created with this discussion, or is it really? Perhaps a short trip early on in a life where one’s life will choose bridge as its huge favorite, pass time or more.

bobbywolffFebruary 13th, 2020 at 10:38 pm

Hi again Iain,

And, no doubt a raise to 2 clubs on occasion would facilitate a final contract of a making small slam (or even possibly a grand) if, in fact, the opener’s suit was supported, instead of the offbeat 1NT (without a stopper).

Especially so, if the partner of the overcaller raised his partner’s suit during his first turn to bid. To me, if I was asked to name the single most important bidding choice, when faced with a dilemma, I think supporting partner (even a minor suit) when first given the opportunity is the overwhelming correct answer.

Finally, visualize the opening bidder holding:

s. AKxx
h. void
d. Ax
c. K10xxxxx

and appreciate the thrill of getting raised rather than the prosaic 1NT.

Iain ClimieFebruary 14th, 2020 at 12:47 am

HI Bobby,

Many thanks for that and certainly plenty to think about. In a worst case scenario I can imagine playing 2C in a poor 4-3 or even 3-3 fit but then challenges are all part of the game – even managing to say “Thank you partner” calmly when a totally unexpected or unsuitable dummy goes down.