Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 2nd, 2020


A V Ramana RaoJuly 16th, 2020 at 11:46 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Perhaps in this particular hand, the Jacoby transfer was not effective. Had North bid the game in spades, it would have been brought home quite easily ( with either layout described)

Iain ClimieJuly 16th, 2020 at 2:19 pm

HI Bobby,

The last time I had an auction like BWTA, I was dummy and put down a singletons S9 while the opener had AKQx in trumps. It didn’t help as partner was 8-5 shape and not troubled to bring in 3S x!



MirceaJuly 16th, 2020 at 4:10 pm

Hi Bobby,

On the actual layout, isn’t West better off ducking KS? On this layout declarer can ultimately reach dummy via clubs, but if East had one more club (in exchange for a heart, for example) ducking KS will work

Iain ClimieJuly 16th, 2020 at 4:28 pm

HI Mircea,

By actual do you mean the one shown or the one that the unlucky declarer actually fell foul of? A club to the 9 still works if West ducks the 2nd spade I think. Perhaps time to look back at T1. If East has CK alone, disaster strikes if you play the queen and west can get in to give east a ruff but that is long odds against. If C are 4-3, you are probably OK regardless (assuming spades are 3-2 of course) so that leaves 5-2. I have to say declarer’s inference looks pretty reasonable at T1 – he was hit by the infamous Grosvener coup perhaps?



Bobby WolffJuly 16th, 2020 at 4:50 pm


Yes, as usual your analysis is correct, making today's conventional transfer response, harmful to success.

Furthermore, if asked to discuss normally useful conventions, transfer responses to partner&#039’s very strong hand (including strong 1NT openings) are basically universally played and enjoyed by a huge percent of both tournament bridge players as well as experienced rubber bridge ones.

Lesson to be learned is that, at least to me, yes Jacoby Transfer is well worth playing because of both its utility and frequency, but no, even that relative advantage is nowhere near the major reason for success, but rather the consistent play and defense, along with the necessary partnership bidding judgment, opening lead, and overall declarer play plus partnership defensive choices is really where it’s at, if one really desires to become a consistent winner.

"No more, but no less" said the spider to the fly.

IOW, when and if someone raves about how wonderful this or that convention or even just how good an overall bidding system has benefited their partnership accept their exaggeration, but understand down deep that their success, if that has not also been somewhat imagined, has occurred because their bridge judgment as well as their partnership discipline (not their conventions) have mightily improved.

Finally, going one step further, my guess is that the choice of opening lead by the required defender (when it is, of course not a slam dunk) is far and away the most determining single feature in the rating of bridge players, particularly at higher levels.

Sorry for the ramble, but your comment stirred up my thinking of how, over the many years of both playing, comparing and then finally judging both partnerships and individual players as to what mostly determines results.

It also, very sadly, then comes to mind just how totally unfair, disrespectful and downright vicious cheating players become, especially on opening lead (during many unknowing to most, opening lead opportunities).

Please excuse me for diverting the conversation to such unforgiving circumstances, but not realizing and then accepting such atrocities can NEVER be tolerated.

Bobby WolffJuly 16th, 2020 at 5:11 pm

Hi Iain,

No doubt when deciding to espouse that bidding decision of passing partner’s TO double, I, too, thought about who the bloke might be that I would not consider passing since he, too, heard the very strong balanced opening bid on his right and still stepped forward with his bid.

I’ll suffice my next suggestion by merely saying, please, as one of his opponents, especially his RHO who converted the TO double to penalties, to not expect him to be 4-3-3-3.

Not respecting a player of note to know what he is doing is like expecting a mere mortal, not one with perhaps an 8-5 distribution, to walk in front of a freight train, going 100 mph.

If so, and after the event, you’ll likely see a big S on his chest. However there is often a time and place for many different things to happen, just always be very wary of all situations and, if possible, try to allow for it.

I’ll let you and Mircea alone with your technical discussion, but did want to suggest what I think is the necessary psychology.