Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, February 7th, 2020


Iain ClimieFebruary 21st, 2020 at 9:52 am

HI Bobby,

If not playing support doubles, would you double instead on BWTA?



bobbywolffFebruary 21st, 2020 at 3:03 pm

Hi Iain, complete with your new nickname,

The now choice of bid reminds me of the confusing old medley of the grocery store bellowing “Yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas today””.

Therefore, I prefer the opening of 1NT (15-17) with its awkward distribution (4-2-5-2), as a lesser of evils, in spite of its two doubletons and weak heart holding, in order to immediately suggest its approximate overall balanced distribution (no shortness) and intermediate strength.

And, of course, since I do not cotton to “support doubles” (mainly because it gives the opponents much more information when after the informational three card major suit support is disclosed and their partnership now avoids that suit (4-3) as trump), it gives too much both offensive and defensive G2 to those worthy opponents who now, when and if they know each of them has three of that suit, to pull back in their bidding and also, to usually defend that hand in a double dummy fashion.

However, I am accustomed to playing double of the intervention as primarily penalty (old time, not modern, meaning) but, because of that and, if, for whatever reason not opening 1NT I would chance 2 spades, since again old fashioned, reverses did not promise the moon in my partnerships and partner, after only bidding at the one level could pass with a minimum (6-7) hcps) and holding 3 spades and fewer diamonds.

Mind you .. since today’s hand is fictional and, of course, the bidding made up, with Lebensohl the main bidding topic, we were able to not have to deal with it. Lucky us for being able to maneuver around it, until and unless some well-intentioned interloper (guess who), who will not be singled out, ha-ha, called our hand.

However, by doing so, I fully realize that, if and when South is dealer, opens 1NT, with West now passing and North merely now raising to 3NT .. then without a mammoth EW mistake, suffer down two in silence, but only disdain.

However, since fickle Dame Fortune had West the dealer, who then opened 2 hearts allowing a totally different sequence of bids, leading to today’s theme .. it only shows to go you, how random results can be, with the saving grace for intended fairness — the redoubtable “LAW OF AVERAGES”.

bobbywolffbFebruary 21st, 2020 at 5:23 pm

Hi everyone,

Just read an interview written by Tim Brown, a major league baseball columnist, employed by Yahoo sports, conducted on February 17, 2020 at 3:38PM of Mike Trout, generally considered currently the most valuable player in American baseball over the last ten years concerning the “cheating” by the Houston Astros and likened it to what it feels like in bridge: to play against cheaters, not being 100% sure of it (but close), at the time, but a full 100% now after they have effectively gotten caught with almost no doubters among their opponents who are not trying to falsely protect them and the country they come from, although, at least to me, their countries are not important, only what they have done to our heretofore sensational game.

This interview IMO is one of the best ones I have ever read, where only the feelings of their opponents and, of course, the results they obtained, especially in my view .. when it directly involved the world’s best mind game, Contract Bridge, instead of what has been labeled “Baseball” — uniquely, America’s most famous sport and pastime.

And one more fact, at least IMO, what the Astros did in baseball would never even begin to equal the evil that the culprits who cheated at bridge accomplished, but nevertheless gets center stage, rather than highly competitive worldwide tournament bridge which has, of course, not equaled universal interest which baseball has achieved.

Although it is fairly long since I have given up serious participation in my favorite competition, I feel qualified to express the above opinions since I played for so many years. It is my fervent hope that eventually, if not sooner, something severe will surface to guarantee that our beloved game does not vanish from existence because the miscreants (who are as guilty as any group can be) do not still possess the power to have our magnificent game suddenly vanish.

Iain ClimieFebruary 22nd, 2020 at 11:45 pm

HI Bobby,

Is there a link to this available?