Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, April 4th, 2020


Iain ClimieApril 18th, 2020 at 11:18 am

HI Bobby,

What worries me about 5N on BWTA is that partner turns up with QJxx Axx Qxxx Kx or similar. Nobody could say that he hasn’t got his bid but the results are embarrassing. Of course this is why out wretched opponents pre-empt so hard but is there any case for only bidding 4N or is this being a bit wet and wussy? Would your answer be different at teams, when you have another pair to explain to, and might that even depend on individual teammates?


Iain Climie

bobbywolffApril 18th, 2020 at 4:02 pm

Hi Iain,

It would indeed be somewhere between impractical and absurd for me to discount your
100% valid complaint concerning the overbid of 5NT (instead of 4NT) with today’s hand.

However, let me explain my overall opinion between those two possibilities:

1. Obviously if the opening bidder would transpose the three honors he holds in the major suits (and likely the number of cards, but that will not matter) 6 of a minor appears to succeed, although the possibility of a ruff looms.

2. Just like the game of poker, it is very difficult to impossible in assessing the difference between bluffing or not since what even excellent experienced opponents may do in response, basically believing by taking the sacrifice or not and then living with whatever result is obtained.

3. While the above totally leaves the other sometimes crucial part of our game, eg. pinpoint bidding, it would be irresponsible to overlook that critical other part, since at least IMO, that so-called characteristic is likely the distinguishing difference between winners and losers, when excellent technicians collide in battle.

4. However some players (IMO, those who kid themselves) pride themselves in being 99.25% pure (remembering the Ivory soap commercial) I FWIIW, believe when the shouting and the hurrahs die, need to get out there on a shimmering branch, always tempting good opponents to err, otherwise their own careers will never reach to the level they desire.

IOW, the above has little to nothing to do with bidding accuracy, but instead everything to do with winning, even against a partnership who may be rated consistently higher than yours with overall bridge acumen.

Yes, we, like in almost all competitions, get rated on our wins and losses and that is IMO, how it should be, but that method rises above just technical accuracy and instead embraces the winning decision, however illogical it may appear.

All the above, of course, includes the possibility of the opponents doing the wrong thing over the pressure we are creating, either taking a phantom sacrifice or not, when they should.

Don’t confuse the above is written by someone who has achieved that kind of success, only one, who thinks that doing such, should get the prize.

Finally, yes, 4NT only, gets my vote, but and against certain partnerships…………?

Iain ClimieApril 18th, 2020 at 6:26 pm

HI Bobby,

Thanks for that and I suppose 5N also has the merit that the opponents may take the “cheap” save over 6C or 6D. The poker element in bridge can be fun too!