Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, August 13th, 2020


Iain ClimieAugust 27th, 2020 at 10:10 am

HI Bobby,

Very poor from South as without 4-0 trumps he has 5H 3C and 2D with various extra chances for 11 tricks, but let’s ignore pairs. After HA, if East has 4 trumps south is fine unless a club to the K gets ruffed when that really is bad luck especially if West has SA or DKQxxx. Here West has 4 and probably short diamonds so South needs to focus on any chances of dealing with the bad news, instead of bemoaning his luck.

Not so sure about today’s quote though. If true, it means that any original quote is unintelligent. There again Oscar Wilde once said to someone who’d sent him something to review “Your work is both good and original. Unfortunately the parts which are good are not original while the original parts are not good!” Ouch.



A V Ramana RaoAugust 27th, 2020 at 11:38 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Today’s quote is a paradox in itself. For, whether the quote is original or not , it cannot be attributed to von Goethe
For a change, my comment is wrt the quote

Iain ClimieAugust 27th, 2020 at 12:44 pm


Any idea who came up with it then? Also, Do you think it is valid, which is much more interesting?


A V Ramana RaoAugust 27th, 2020 at 2:04 pm

Hi lain
What I meant is : if the quote is original, von Goethe is contradicting himself and if it is not original, it cannot be attributed to him

Iain ClimieAugust 27th, 2020 at 2:37 pm


I like the paradox! Sorry for being dozy.


Iain ClimieAugust 27th, 2020 at 2:53 pm

Unless von Goethe thinks his own comment is unintelligent, I suppose…

bobbywolffAugust 27th, 2020 at 5:11 pm

Hi Iain & AVRR,

First, when the very old saying (back when I was a kid) and was normally pounded into other kids from concerned parents, who were then thought to be smart alecks, if they spoke when they should have been listening, “Another country heard from” becomes very real, and we are now practicing it, with our new and effective means of world communication. No doubt world progressive.

Perhaps von Goethe only meant to imply that all (or at least most) intelligent advice has already been given on almost every subject, so all we need do is remember worthwhile suggestions and tend to respect and follow them, rather than to try and reinvent the wheel.

Methinks that many do, but the stubborn often do not, especially in bridge.

My beef in today’s hand is that I think it is a major stretch for declarer to necessarily be so afraid of the actual diamond layout rather than the king of diamonds lead only from the KQ with no ruffs possible and his partner’s first diamond perhaps a count signal. After all, 3-3 breaks do not occur that often, especially as opposed to 4-0 offside. Yes, I should realize that even suit breaks do not have an offside,
but my even saying that helps prove non Goethe”s comment right about unintelligence.

After all, the declarer allowed for not only a 4-0 heart break, but all four hearts offside plus the lonely king lead or perhaps from Kx or KQxxx(x).

However, since I always enjoy word games (though not particularly good at them) I have sometimes wondered what part of the body is served with a pair of doxs. Not to mention the sudden, rather than common thought, of going to the bathroom, but, in truth, it is likely that thought will be self-evident again and not too long before it again happens (apologies for continued referrence to age).

Joe1August 28th, 2020 at 12:52 am

Hi Bobby
Would you ever open E? NV vs V? Maybe 2D? As the cards lie, same final contract, but in other scenarios possibly effective.

Joe1August 28th, 2020 at 1:21 am

Intelligence is one of the greatest human gifts. But all too often a search for knowledge drives out the search for love. This is something else I’ve discovered for myself very recently. I present it to you as a hypothesis: Intelligence without the ability to give and receive affection leads to mental and moral breakdown, to neurosis, and possibly even psychosis. And I say that the mind absorbed in and involved in itself as a self-centered end, to the exclusion of human relationships, can only lead to violence and pain.”
― Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon

But many intelligent people have a sort of bug: they think intelligence is an end in itself. They have one idea in mind: to be intelligent, which is really stupid. And when intelligence takes itself for its own goal, it operates very strangely: the proof that it exists is not to be found in the ingenuity or simplicity of what it produces, but in how obscurely it is expressed.”
― Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

bobbywolffAugust 28th, 2020 at 3:12 am

Hi Joe1,

No, East does not have much of even a semblance of an one level opening bid, but to do so, would not materially effect the odds of success.

No doubt there are not enough high cards to justify a one bid, and by holding very good support in case East and West had a great spade fit, would probably be too much to hope for. However the odds of success will never be known, since too many statistics need to be kept to justify that experiment.

Even in a perfect world where all ventures can be measured, to open the bidding anything but pass with East is not logistically feasible.

Of course, at least to my knowledge, there have not been any real exercise in going against the accepted philosophy of passing, with the idea of maybe coming in later.

AFAIK, your take in comparing seeking intelligence at the expense of human relationships or vice versa is no doubt worthwhile, but at the same time, life often moves at such a fast pace, a candidate for a conclusion on that enigma may likely not be answered in anyone’s lifetime who was indeed interested in finding out.

Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen, but in real like it is unlikely (perhaps 100 to 1 against) anyone, who, in spite of being interested, will still not complete the task for likely just the time to concentrate on such a possible weird project.

However, my take is not worth even saying, since I’ve never ever been interested in such subjects, although I can certainly imagine someone, very sophisticated, who might be.

IOW, good luck and please offer your take on your conclusions, when and if, you have found something worth sharing.

bobbywolffAugust 28th, 2020 at 3:28 am

Hi again Joe1,

And if anyone may be interested, regarding the horrible hate campaign which is now going on throughout the USA regarding Black Lives Matter, at least to me all that really needs to be done is that Blacks (and possibly Browns) is to spend time and effort in getting adequately educated (not as simple as I may lead you to believe) for them to appear in full bloom and ready to share equally in love and affection to which all human beings are entitled.

However, the violence must stop in spite of what they think is their best opportunity for the equality that they seek.

Positive contributions in the way of intellectual progress is a powerful weapon rather than the conventional war like attitude, losers have chosen in the past (going back hundreds of years).

The great sports figures of today could multiply their chances for all their desires if they took what they do for granted, but then learned to help others seek progress in different fields than what comes naturally.

How compelling that sort of exercise would help, in their fight for equality, and, if done right, would even advance them far deeper than expected

Iain ClimieAugust 28th, 2020 at 9:23 am

Hi Bobby, Joe1,

Interesting thoughts on intelligence and morals but does anyone remember HAL – the computer in “2001 a space odyssey”? Very intelligent but charged with ensuring the success of the mission, HAL (increment each letter by 1 place in the alphabet for the in-joke) realises that the only thing that can stop the mission succeeding is if the astronauts mess it up. So it decides, logically but clearly not morally, to kill them off.



bobbywolffAugust 28th, 2020 at 7:14 pm

Hi Iain,

Remember well the movie and saw it many years ago, long before 2001, and, at that time had a very difficult time understanding what HAL, the computer, had in mind, other than realize he had evil intent.

Thanks for closing that door, although I have always had the ability to not blame myself for unknown messages, not clear to me, and discarded by me with consternation for others.

At this stage in life I forgive myself for all things, especially mediocre and evil. Great for peace of mind, not so for meeting worthwhile challenges.

To make up for past deficiencies I will now name this computer I write on, Hal’s revenge.

bobbywolffAugust 28th, 2020 at 7:18 pm

Hi again Iain & Joe1

Hm….. IBM, come and gone!