Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, June 14th, 2020


Iain ClimieJune 28th, 2020 at 3:03 pm

Hi Bobby,

On Fully Loaded’s query, would 4S be an unforgivable overbid bearing in mind that the opponents could have game (or even slam) as partner could have very little and few people play penalty doubles of pre-empts or leave them in? 1S can’t be criticised too much, but might give the opponents a fairly clear run.

Obviously the unfavourable vulnerability is a concern, but I might still be tempted, and would almost certainly bash out 4S in other cases. If Jim2 is reading this, of course, he knows what’ll happen, even if he randomly selected any of 1S, 3S, 4S or a sandbagging pass; I wonder if he’s ever despaired sufficiently to do what an old partner of mine did with a Jx opposite K10x decision. After much agonising, he really couldn’t see any genuine pointers either way so he apologised to the opponents and took out a coin, tossed it to decide and it was his lucky day. Shades of a less lethal version of “No Country for Old Men” if you’ve ever seen what the villain does in that.



bobbywolffJune 28th, 2020 at 6:36 pm

Hi Iain,

My answer to your dilemma regarding “Fully Loaded’s” query is a very emphatic, “Who knows’.

Opposite a passed hand with unfavorable vulnerability (although that condition can work both ways) my random guess is that perhaps nine tricks, with eight a very slight favorite over ten as a percentage choice as my guiding force would cause me to open three spades in third position (a medium effort which certainly is not final and offers a fair choice to partner, a loving synonym for my OX) which in turn allows him or her to be the goat as well, of course, as the hero. Blind flying, no doubt, but, in this case, at least to my taste, justifiable.

Yes, an untoward substantial penalty is a possibility but, at least to me, with my experience, very negligible. First seat, I would open 1 spade, because of the decent defense, but more importantly, partner not yet being heard from wherein, we may need room to bid this hand to a wider range of contracts, even, though unlikely, not spades.

For your reasons given, no real gripes about opening 4 spades, although partner may have a few later, but the main one has to center on “part scores have a right to be respected, too”, especially where it includes only a final contract of 2 spades, where two less tricks only need to be scored.

And now addressing the coin flip you mention is, if you can find a coin with both sides the same, it can be very useful, when, and if, you decide to do the same thing the coin will show, but want partner only to know your intentions, after the finesse goes your way, since he or she will then suspect that you were certain of the result, but you wanted those disliked opponents to suffer, by thinking that even luck was against them. “Aren’t We Devils”?

Finally I will not make an effort to see “No Country for Old Men” since your forecast is not conducive to what age I will become in the next twenty years or so and by design I will stay away from words like lethal, villain and such.