Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, March 30th, 2020


Bill CubleyApril 13th, 2020 at 2:44 pm


Top players give Bols Bridge Tips. Lesser players like me give beer and hot dog tips such as, “When they don’t know how to bid, they never know how to lead.” This theory has been successfully used against me by my many betters.

I hope all went well. We saw 2 deer on our way to pick up dinner. They were crossing the road at the crossing sign. They waited until we stopped!

Bill CubleyApril 13th, 2020 at 2:45 pm


Top players give Bols Bridge Tips. Lesser players like me give beer and hot dog tips such as, “When they don’t know how to bid, they never know how to lead.” This theory has been successfully used against me by my many betters.

I hope all went well. We saw 2 deer on our way to pick up dinner. They were crossing the road at the deer crossing sign. They waited until we stopped!

Iain ClimieApril 13th, 2020 at 2:53 pm

Hi Bill,

You might like a chess saying too: “The mistakes are all there waiting to be made”. I hope you and your family are all keeping well.



Robert LiptonApril 13th, 2020 at 5:19 pm

I hope everyone is doing well.

Bob Lipton

bobbywolffApril 13th, 2020 at 5:37 pm

Hi Bill & Iain,

Both mistakes and misnakes are hissing proof for losers. Since losers are taught to not give ruffs and sluffs they (especially women), on this hand, are likely to often switch to their best friend, diamonds.

Together that will solve today’s declarer problem which will make the result dear. It never hurts to pave that road for a not so wily opponent to follow, especially those deer who could read but, up to then, not count.

Thanks to Iain for giving us sound advice and not leave our four walls, which seems like, at the ceiling, a machine gun is manning it.

And Bill, you continue to worry about your betters, as if there were many. No doubt you are among the top 1% of all the players, a distinction not to be taken for granted.

For example, if being thrown in at the death while holding 4 diamonds to the queen you need to lead a diamond and when declarer inserts the nine, your partner, while only holding a singleton 2 must learn to study long and hard (especially long) before playing it.

And when and if questioned later, simply explain that he had dozed off because the declarer had played very slowly. At least, a good excuse may reduce your sentence, (after all, if deer can read, you can sleep). However, make sure you give that friendly director a nice tip (I know, you think that tip is not asking him to play with you).

bobbywolffApril 13th, 2020 at 6:12 pm

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your note of safety and good cheer.

No doubt, voids are sometimes valuable while playing our sensational game, but with what is going on now, that thought is filled with horror.

Time for some sunshine to appear, allowing our great country (and whole world) to fight its way back to at least a large degree of normalcy.

Love and wellness to everyone.

jim2April 13th, 2020 at 11:04 pm

The more usual translation is:
In my youth, I played a lot of chess. It became too much of a drain to play at a high level, so I switched to bridge. In chess, a small mistake can lead to hours of stress trying to recover. At least in bridge, I reasoned, the cards were soon dealt again.

“The blunders are all there on the board, waiting to be made.”

Ksawery (Savielly) Tartakower is famous for his many aphorisms, called “Tartakoverisms.”

Perhaps my favorite is:

“Chess is a fairy tale of 1001 blunders.”

jim2April 13th, 2020 at 11:05 pm

Formatting error. Sorry. I think my intent can be divined.

bobbywolffApril 14th, 2020 at 12:57 am

Hi Jim2,

Perhaps a proper phrase for the “Tartakoverism”
relevant to bridge could be, that trombones as sung by the Music Man, offers 925 less blunders than does chess, but is indefinite, at least as a fairy tale, compared to a hand of bridge.

While not including a formatting error, one would have to have a really bad month to equal chess, while playing bridge, even if a harsh judge would be in charge, assuming only one month was measured, but no doubt there would be many who might surpass it (with perhaps days to spare).

Closer to Dalmatians, but slightly greater, except perhaps for February in a non-leap year.

A V Ramana RaoApril 14th, 2020 at 3:12 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff & Jim2
With the permission of our host. I too was playing active chess during college days and fot sometime later. An ardent fan of Bobby Fischer. However, I feel that due to the exhaustive opening theory available today, and also the chess engines, perhaps chess is not as charming as it was perhaps about fifty years ago . We see grandmasters grinding technical wins but combinations are becoming rare and rare unlike in the days of Alekhine, Fischer and Tal and anyway an apt quote about chess is
One doesn’t have to play well, it’s enough to play better than your opponent.”
But every bridge deal has its own charm

bobbywolffApril 14th, 2020 at 5:43 am


Like you and Jim2, I did learn how to play chess and at a tender age, but very unlike both of you, never even peeped my way past the beginner stage.

No doubt bridge has a strong luck element, while chess has zero. but since perhaps 999 out of 1000 bridge players (and also almost all chess players) are convinced of the immutable law of averages working overtime to eventually, if not sooner, evening out over time, all the many situations in bridge which will always, like night follows day, basically follow the percentage tables. Also, and of course, the ability to play detective is another feature of bridge, and also possibly in its way with chess also, but chess being such an open game (with everything visible) not nearly as often.

And no doubt what you explain about chess players having only one opponent to beat, while bridge adventures all over the map with both mathematical and psychological hurdles to jump where likely more often than expected the right bid, lead or overall play in bridge, (while everyone is holding the same 13 cards), when playing against one opponent, could be thought to be significantly different when instead playing against some other player or pair.

Finally, I certainly approve of your adjective, charm. However, with not a chance of being wrong, I am totally biased, perhaps developed because of my failure with chess.

And if Jim2 is listening, sorry for writing the above fable, without even mentioning TOCM TM.

Bill CubleyApril 16th, 2020 at 2:15 pm

Bobby and Iain,

Thanks to both of you for your kind words. Stay well in these perilous times. Sadly more tournaments are cancelled. When will we ever play again? Face to face is always better. Better is when a pretty woman opponent smiles.

bobbywolffApril 16th, 2020 at 4:11 pm

Hi Bill,

If only I had enough money to buy you which you might then claim to be your prize possession, a beautiful woman famous for her smile, The one and only, “Mona Lisa”.