Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, February 10th, 2020


David WarheitFebruary 24th, 2020 at 9:17 am

Upton always makes 4H. If W covers the S9, dummy wins the Q. S then runs 4D & SA & exits with a S to W. Holding nothing but C, W must play CA & a C to S’s K. S now plays a small H from each hand, endplaying E. Such fun, endplaying each opponent!

David WarheitFebruary 24th, 2020 at 9:41 am

Well, maybe not. Instead of playing C, W can exit with his last S. So, the ultimate excellent play is to give your opponent a ruff-sluff. Fun game!

Iain ClimieFebruary 24th, 2020 at 9:51 am

HI Bobby,

Is it better to play the HJ at T1 anyway on the basis that the trump distribution is pretty clear? East will always make 1 H trick, but this minimizes the change of it being two.



bobbywolffFebruary 24th, 2020 at 2:28 pm

Hi David & Iain,

In toto, and between you two, this comedy, in spite of the errors involved at the table, together with our not reporting what you two have uncovered, leaves me in desperate need of an apology.

However, in spite of the above, it still leaves an instructive hand, featuring a poor opening lead, a disregard for saving a trump trick, an ill-advised penalty double, but a proper reading of the end situation which more or less cancelled the above disdain and mightily redeemed the declarer, at least with the result.

In fact, many reported hands are at least “slightly” edited in order to glorify a well done bidding, declaring or defensive effort in the public eye.

However, with this specific hand the word “slightly” is one of the greatest underbids of all time.

Thanks to both of you for coming to the rescue of all our other readers who possibly fell for our scam.

Iain ClimieFebruary 24th, 2020 at 2:46 pm

Hi Bobby,

Thanks for that and it is still an interesting hand. Perhaps a revisit of SJ Simon’s question is relevant here (from Rubber Bridge) i.e. do you double a freely bid NV slam with 2 Aces? You might gain 50 points; or an opponent may have a void, redouble and you might lose rather more.

OK, West should have played the SJ but East’s double could turn +100 into +200 (3 IMPs) or +200 on a good day into +500 (7 IMPs). If the contract makes it is only 170 out (so -5 IMPs) and the odds don’t look too bad. The bad news of course is when the double costs one or more tricks in the play so +200 (undoubled off 2) becomes +200 (doubled off 1) or worse -790 as the contract makes BECAUSE of the double. So, if the double switches from +100 to -790, the odds really need to be much, much better and Biddle can go for the hair shirt. I’d still have blamed partner for not covering the S9 though although I pulled something similar as declarer the other night, sneaking the 9 (from 109 alone) through KJxx to AQ43 on table as my LHO dozed off.



bobbywolffFebruary 25th, 2020 at 5:25 pm

Hi Iain,

A bit late from me, but thanks for tolling off the logical (and to the point) numbers to which our best and most experienced players base their
respected opinions on whether or not.

During an unusually long time with our equally beloved game, the playing of successful bridge has much to do with its suspected heritage of much to do about all things numerical.

From simple arithmetic with counting potential tricks, through exact distributions of unseen hands, and finally for the specific numerical card (yes aces, kings, queens and jacks are really 13, 12, 11, and 10 all the way down to the lowly 2 with 1 getting a pass, since an ace is high, not low).

Then, the number of tricks needed for contract and of course, from the defensive view, sets, to the scoring system based on overall opinion of what the results should count including the complications of doubling and even redoubling.

Finally, while the numbers involved with the various bonuses and, of course, the necessary math necessary to total the exact worth of every hand played.

No wonder the game is so much easier where the specific player is better placed, by both heritage and learning (not to mention both together), to deal with numbers rather than letters.

Again, at least in my rather firm (but perhaps biased) opinion, that our game is a wonderful exercise for all youths, both the ones born gifted, semi-so but others not, but want to be, if only to be better placed as they go through a hoped for long life which helps in, if you will forgive me, innumerable ways.