Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 17th, 2020


GinnyJuly 31st, 2020 at 10:50 am

Hi Bobby,
When I saw this hand, I saw plenty of winners for N-S, 4 losers and a communication problem. I expect I would have taken the ace of hearts and played the ace and jack of spades (minor deception) and then started diamonds. What is the downside of playing 2 rounds of trump before any diamonds? It sure makes the club pitch on the second heart easier to spot.

Also, do you agree with that 1h bid by West. Why not 2h? At a 1nt contract, North-South could take 11 tricks in defense. Funny how they can only take 7 tricks on offense.

Iain ClimieJuly 31st, 2020 at 11:40 am

Hi Bobby,

On BWTA, any case for 3H at favourable or even Love All? Accusations that I’m in touch with my inner FRL (Front Row Lemming) may of course be justified.



PS Just in case someone chirps in, I do know that lemmings don’t really hurl themselves off cliffs but the mental picture is still valid at the bridge table e.g. for poor VT (initials only) who once pulled 2 suicide squeezes off in a week when playing opposite me in my foul-tempered incarnation in the early 1980s.

bobbywolffJuly 31st, 2020 at 3:37 pm

Hi Ginny,

First, I appreciate the order in which your mind works, simply because it is good bridge realistic and, if consistent discipline (not immediately acting) is added, until possible gremlins in your analysis are confirmed, you will represent what I think, is good and, more important, winning technique.

While your suggested early play is acceptable, it loses giving too much gratuitous information to those dreaded opponents, which if not done, sometimes will make it more difficult for them to defend as well, here, taking the first diamond.

However, if your early play is distinctly superior, sure go ahead, but since you are hoping the defense will take an early diamond I think leading them early, will better encourage that, if they are not positioned well in exchanging diamond length before acting.

Regarding your question concerning West’s very light opening 1 heart bid, it definitely runs the risk of partner now expecting more from you, particularly if he has short hearts and the opponents entering the bidding, but and no doubt, opening bids these days are becoming lighter and lighter even among the very best players in the world, making us all think that, in their opinion, the first strike is a decided plus, even with the later risk, on occasion, of not enjoying later, laying your hand down as dummy.

Your assessment of the unusual trick difference merely reflects how important timing becomes in hands which require setting up suits to run before those nasty opponents are in position to cash theirs.

Thanks for writing and expressing your thoughts, which positively results in others doing the same.

bobbywolffJuly 31st, 2020 at 4:55 pm

Hi Iain,

No doubt, while playing against certain opponents, 3 hearts rather than only 2 becomes more likely to get a good result (lemmings or not present), only suggesting that many questions, especially about the heights of preempts, have more to do with the habits of one’s opponents, a good quality to possess, than worrying about which to choose. IOW, if playing against players who tend to react irresponsibly against higher preempts, by all means, give them that opportunity.

Lemmings be damned, who need to go to a bird psychiatrist who will, more than likely, try and cure them of their strange habit, for fear of losing their patients or could either be patience or income.

Furthermore, regarding your history, shouldn’t you have mentioned your temper as fowl-mouthed rather than changing the subject.

And, if you indeed have chucked Mr. Hyde for Dr. Jekyll, it would be then virtual (a now common expression during our world’s pandemic) for lemmings
to regard low places as acrophobia
for their purposes.

The above is only to recognize and applaud your now gentle nature
as well as to wish VT a fond RIP in case either of his two closely executed suicide squeezes or his then partnership with you in the early 1980s in reality, did him in.

Iain ClimieJuly 31st, 2020 at 7:10 pm

HI Bobby,

In later life I realised that terrorising partners is actually counter-productive so I stopped. Earlier, Alan Sontag’s description of Or a Rubin in “The Bridge Bum” was uncomfortably close to the truth! I needed to write out several hundred times “Shouting at partner doesn’t improve rezults” (or spelling) but nobody made me do it although my first serious tournament partner managed to knock a few rough edges off – my retrospective thanks to Mike Summers-Smith. Even so, I occasionally made him nervous I suspect.



Iain ClimieJuly 31st, 2020 at 7:11 pm

Sorry, Ira Rubin

Iain ClimieJuly 31st, 2020 at 7:54 pm

Also “Ira” is Latin for wrath or rage!

bobbywolffJuly 31st, 2020 at 7:58 pm

Hi Iain,

Sounds like you knew what you were doing, especially in the timing.

Once partner, particularly a younger, less experienced one, has heard a reminder to continue concentrating but then an absence of criticality (or at least severely reduced) he or (she) might think twice about his mind wandering off. Good results or at least the best possible ones, then result.