Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, March 10th, 2020


Iain ClimieMarch 24th, 2020 at 9:11 am

HI Bobby,

Greetings form another lockdown land i.e. the UK. On line entertainment (coupled with working from home and growing a load of vegetables) will be the order of the day for a while, so many thanks for today’s column, those to come and the archives we can all look back to.



bobbywolffMarch 24th, 2020 at 3:01 pm

Hi Iain,

Whether known as the bridge column of choice or perhaps instead, what to do when indeed the world is being ravished by an invisible evil force, it is OK with me since it allows me to safely be close to all sorts of wonderful people, most far away, but alas, with common interests and always good cheer.

Today’s adventure is both short but sweet, since it is no better nor worse than a simple logic problem of how best to throw worthy opponents into a no win situation and thus reap the harvest.

Like a baseball announcer, the USA National Pass Time (mostly during the summer), might announce after a half inning, no runs (opponents failed to score), no hits (opponent positives) no errors (declarer figured out what to do and his enemy had no means to stop him), no one left on base (clean slate).

The pitcher of record was the declarer, so on to the innings which follow, while determining the winner. And the extraordinarily necessary feature, no nasty germs passed during the battle, allowing our great mind game to win the day.

If only our individual quarantines (mostly all over our concerned world) would pass so smoothly and enjoyably.

Good luck to you with your vegetable growing, but the fruits of that are indeed somewhat slower and the working from home, likely to get somewhat inconvenient, if not annoying.

Many thanks for your lovely note.

Iain ClimieMarch 24th, 2020 at 3:47 pm

HI Bobby,

Above all, you and Judy take care. ALL THE BEST to you and to everyone else who contributes or reads the blog,


A V Ramana RaoMarch 24th, 2020 at 5:35 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff & lain
Yes , for once, this planet needs luck. It is not the size of this invisible enemy ( 0.120 microns) that matters but the brute force with which it is ravaging all the globe. All of us are as mute as West in the column hand to stop this attack as on date. Wish situation improves shortly with the demon brought under control. India enters a total lockdown for twenty one days from now.
Wishing all a safe transit from the current situation

jim2March 24th, 2020 at 6:08 pm

Speaking of “mute,” Victor Mollo’s _The Bridge Immortals_ includes one “Claude Deruy,” a few entries after Benito Garozza and a few before Terence Reese.

The qualifications Mollo provides to justify his inclusion to this august list was that he passed twice in the same hand during his country’s championship trials to select their entry to the 1964 Olympiad.

bobbywolffMarch 24th, 2020 at 6:40 pm

Hi AVRR & Jim2,

Perhaps also the John Milton phrase “They also serve who only stand and wait” could refer to “stay at homes” during this siege by that ravaging and fearful microscopic germ as an endearing but appropriate compliment to those who do.

However, with the notice of how aggressive our stars now bid em up. perhaps a single pass will
possibly, at a propitious moment, now qualify for an Olympiad, in Victor’s opinion, as an award winning performance.

jim2March 24th, 2020 at 6:54 pm

Well, the Paul Harvey for the Durvey story begins with the fact that he dealt and the bidding went:

Pass – 4S – Pass – Pass

jim2March 24th, 2020 at 7:22 pm

The next part is that his hand was:


bobbywolffMarch 24th, 2020 at 7:57 pm

Hi Jim2,

And of course, Durvey’s LHO had no trouble making at least 10 tricks.

Well, if it is Robert Ripley who asked “Believe it or not?” I’ll choose not, at least to that hand coming up at a legitimate championship.

jim2March 24th, 2020 at 10:57 pm

The hand was on the old display in a hall for commentators and spectators, and they all wondered and opined all sorts of things.

Turned that he was so intensely obsessed over the previous hand, that he forgot to put his cards back into the carrier.

He was bidding with his hand from the previous deal!

jim2March 24th, 2020 at 10:59 pm

The hand was from the actual French trials for the 1964 Olympiad, and was quite, quite public.

Anyway, he was “mute.”

bobbywolffMarch 24th, 2020 at 11:07 pm

Hi Jim2,

As you could probably guess, no doubt that 13 card hand was likely held during that championship. All I am suggesting is that the bidding did NOT go the way it was rumored.

If, for no other reason, that I and others my vintage, never heard about such a travesty.

jim2March 24th, 2020 at 11:55 pm

_The Bridge Immortals_, by Victor Mollo, Hart Publishing Company, Inc. NYC, 1967. First American printing 1968, of which my copy is in my hands as I have typed all this, Pages 66-68.

Per the text, the hand was visible to a large hall audience on “the illuminated Bridgerama screen” as it was played. His partner was Rene Bacherich, per the printed hand diagram.

“Umpire, official commentator, and spectators, all were sorely perplexed. Great players may be unpredictable. But could anyone be as unpredictable as that?

“When the mystery was finally cleared up, it transpired that Deruy, deeply engrossed in the previous deal, was still clutching – and bidding – the hand from the board before, which he had omitted to replace in its slot.”

Maybe it did not happen, but Mollo sure published it that way.

jim2March 25th, 2020 at 2:27 am

BTW, this was just another bit of bridge trivia that I read long ago and that refused to be forgotten. Like Eddie Kantar’s K10 of clubs, with you in the other room, and like you trying to bid 8 one time in a weird match with sports stars.

bobbywolffMarch 25th, 2020 at 5:19 am

Hi Jim2,

A very long time ago, perhaps almost 56 years ago, that hand then obviously occurred during the French trials, with the player holding that hand, still clutching his 13 cards from the previous board instead of the current.

Proves a significant example of overwhelming concentration transporting a player’s mind away from the reality of the upcoming hand back to the previous board. I have been privy to that phenomena, perhaps once or twice, but never anything as unusual as this.

Reminds me of perhaps an apocryphal tale of, long ago, a beautiful naked woman passing by the table where Terence Reese was playing and him, while keenly concentrating as declarer,, not even noticing.

If so, I feel sorry for both him, but especially his opponents, since, no doubt, he certainly made his contract. YES, our game of bridge can make fools of us all.

Eddie Kantar is still very much alive and we do keep in touch, telling me a short time ago he is almost ready to forget that K10 of clubs hand, but not quite, which occurred in January of 1975.

And regarding my bid of 8 clubs against those sports stars in 1972 at Host Farm, PA. turned out OK since one of them then went on to 8 spades, for fear I might make it.

BTW bridge history will reveal that the same Eddie Kantar was the sport star’s mentor and coach, but they didn’t consult him, although our rules permitted it, about that key bid.

Their team was (Frank Beard, Richie Ashburn, Jim Bunning and Tim McCarver, all avid bridge players, back in the halcyon days when tournament bridge was VERY popular.)

jim2March 25th, 2020 at 1:29 pm

It is so much easier for me to remember what I read, despite reading so many things, than it is for athletes (even bridge player ones) to remember all the details of the many,many thousands of hands they played over several decades ago.

bobbywolffMarch 25th, 2020 at 2:34 pm

Hi Jim2,

Instead of finding the Fountain of Youth in Florida, at least supposedly, as did the Spanish Explorer, Ponce de Leon, no less than you have not only found, but instead have become, the Fountain of Information (especially with bridge).

For one to even blink, much less disagree only slightly, with anything you suggest becomes a study in futility. Making it even more impressive, there appears to be no time limit to your wealth of knowledge, likely going back to your mother’s early period of gestation.

Your manner is gentle and totally cooperative, blending beautifully with a powerfully modest and extremely constructive overall personality.

Having said the above and it being very early in the morning here in Las Vegas, I will likely soon decide on what I will have for breakfast, knowing full well that you already know.

Finally, as Donald Duck might have said, you, being a tortured victim of TOCM TM, and, of course, considering your gigantic never ending talents, have always overcome, meaning it might not have been nearly as painful as it was quacked up to be.

Thank you for always, with your endless contributions, adding continuous luster to the AOB web site.

jim2March 25th, 2020 at 2:59 pm

I would have responded sooner, but I lost time looking for a “Blushing” emoji that might work here.

So, when you look at the smiley below, imagine the cheeks are bright red!