Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 15th, 2020


Iain ClimieJuly 29th, 2020 at 3:05 pm

Hi Bobby,

One point here is that East clearly has 2C so what are the relative likelihoods of 2-4-5-2 (or even 2-5-4-2 although most would surely open 1H there) and 3-4-4-2 or 3-3-5-2; I think the latter cases are more likely. With regard to today’s quote a couple of sobering thoughts apply.

The first is Homer’s Achilles who is given the choice of dying young (but his name living on forever) or living in anonymity until a ripe old age When Odysseus manages to visit Hades and speak to Achilles’ ghost, the latter bewails his decision wishing that he could swap places with the humblest swineherd or other labourer to have a dull and unknown life. The other was an anonymous survey carried out by Sports illustrated about the price athletes would pay for success. They asked people just below top level if they would take an undetectable hypothetical drug to improve performance, give them a god medal but which would kill them before 40. Almost all said Yes!

I am delighted that you are both well-known and have lived to a good age, though, and I hope you have any more years to come.



bobbywolffJuly 29th, 2020 at 3:46 pm

Hi Iain,

Much thanks for first your last paragraph to which I am both flattered, and, of course, quickly and profoundly share in your final wish, especially when you then kindly add an “m” before “any”.

Of course, “just kidding about the “m”, and would like to add how important, and, of course, you and all the rest of our incredible large bridge table of friends have meant to both Judy and me.

Just to feel the virtual comradeship (not to mention the humor) between the whole group always makes my day.

Also your reasoning on why to play East for three spades rather than two, covers the bases, not near 100%, but I certainly agree, well over 50.

Your history with Homer’s Achilles, leading to the SI experiment with the hypothetical drug, is no less than fascinating, especially when life expectancy now has rapidly increased, as opposed to when Homer roamed our planet
when likely life expectancy at birth was possibly even below 40.

The answer of selecting fame to longevity causes me to think dual thoughts, 1. could be true, though almost too radical to contemplate, but 2, easier to say in a survey than to actually choose such a choice, but while playing in an important tournament, the survey results concerning our mindset, are likely 100% true.

However, like our great game of bridge, just another life or death decision, like we often manage at the table, or, at least, so it might seem.

Iain ClimieJuly 29th, 2020 at 5:05 pm

Hi Bobby,

AAARGH – sorry what an appalling typo! Somebody shoot my Gremlins several times over (and possibly me too) but at least you realised what I meant.

Regards (and very, very embarrassed) ,


David WarheitJuly 29th, 2020 at 6:07 pm

Iain: so glad to hear you’re not “em bare assed”.

Iain ClimieJuly 29th, 2020 at 7:17 pm

Hi David (and Bobby again),

Thanks for that David and have you ever seen “A Fish Called Wanda”? At one point the up-tight English barrister called Archie Leach(actually Cary Grant’s real name) comes up with the following:

“Wanda, do you have any idea what it’s like being English? Being so correct all the time, being so stifled by this dread of, of doing the wrong thing, of saying to someone, ‘Are you married?’ and hearing, ‘ My wife left me this morning,’ or saying, uh, ‘ Do you have children?’ and being told they all burned to death on Wednesday. You see, Wanda, we’re all terrified of embarrassment.”

OK, I’m only half English (my dad was Scots) but you get the picture and also I recall Bobby’s lovely comment some years back “Iain, I know you’re British but you’ve been posting on this blog for 12 months at least now so you can call me Bobby instead of Mr. Wolff.” Oh dear, oh dear – although still nowehere near the top of my 10 most cringe-inducing moments. Even now I still struggle to cope with worst one when I was about 17 and very smitten by a lovely girl (call her MJC – her initials) at University (where I’d gone a year early) and tried to impress her, probably resulting in her thinking I probably belonged in a straitjacket. Give me one wish (OK, two wishes, this is actually my second) and I’d wreck the laws of physics, travel back in time from now and, despite the logical impossibility of old me and young me being together, hit the youthful me in the mouth with a length of wood (or a baseball bat or a chair or anything really) to stop the words coming out.

Good to hear from you and take care. At least Bobby spotting the typo and took it in good spirit.



bobbywolffJuly 29th, 2020 at 7:58 pm

Hi Iain,

Yes, I had some potent spirits, which no doubt shielded me (at least for now) of the worry about your likely intended murder conspiracy.

Glad hand to you which should last until you hear from both the world bridge police and my high priced, possibly slightly corrupt, lawyer.

No harm intended, at least while assuming that you will immediately, if not sooner, pay the stated huge amount then enclosed, which will constitute your first installment of restitution.

Lucky for you that we will still be friends.