Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, September 30th, 2020


Iain ClimieOctober 14th, 2020 at 9:06 am

HI Bobby,

This is jumping the gun on US time, but many happy returns from this side of the pond!



Iain ClimieOctober 14th, 2020 at 10:03 am

Hi again,

Looking at the hand again, South is reading East for 3-2-2-6 but that spade to the 8 is tempting providence – half of the 3-1 cases will have West holding SQ or S10 alone, with the latter particularly embarrassing, although you suggest SJ to the Ace is worth a shot – when East mustn’t cover although paradoxically the winning defence you note involves putting up the S10 if a small spade is led. Is East bidding this way with 10xx xx Kx AKQxxx is the question, I suppose, although SQ10x isn’t an asset except defensively.

My head hurts as Jim2 would say.


A V Ramana RaoOctober 14th, 2020 at 10:12 am

Hi Dear Mr. Wolff
Wishing You A Very Happy Birthday and Many More Happy Returns

David WarheitOctober 14th, 2020 at 10:13 am

Let’s see, the spade 8 and the diamond 8, both in declarer’s hand, are significant. Oh, I get it! HAPPY 88 BIRTHDAY!!

Shantanu RastogiOctober 14th, 2020 at 12:58 pm

Happy birthday Mr Wolff.


Shantanu Rastogi

bobbywolffOctober 14th, 2020 at 2:42 pm

Hi Iain,

Much thanks for your recognition and since that news is public, just call me “piano”, for two reasons, with by far my favorite one, the sweet music which both our beloved game represents and that horrible pandemic but successful vaccine will hopefully soon, allow us to reenter that highly competitive, but thoroughly enjoyable and most endearing challenge.

And, back to the ranch, since Jim2 will no doubt point out and agree with your analysis but first also suggest that your low to the nine will be most exciting and especially worth kudos (if it works), but that for himself, whichever way he attempts to proceed, TOCM TM will intervene allowing his best result possible, but sadly down like the Titantic.

bobbywolffOctober 14th, 2020 at 2:54 pm


Thanks for your kind and thoughtful wishes and join with me the hope that competitive and honest world bridge, along with all the instructive and intelligent thinking which goes with, will someday help cause a world commonality to bring us all together by allowing a highly intellectual competition to satisfy our
need to compete in worthwhile safe battles for whatever it represents, to which I think GREAT!

And our wonderful and fulfilling game is the perfect vehicle for such an exercise.

bobbywolffOctober 14th, 2020 at 3:03 pm

Hi David,

Of course, right on both counts, plus allowing me to apologize to Iain for thinking the nine of spades was in declarer’s hand, not the dummy.

And no doubt, bridge may be about the toughest game to play, but also, at least for me, the most difficult game to write about, even after a number of proof readings.

bobbywolffOctober 14th, 2020 at 3:24 pm

Hi Shantanu,

Thanks for you taking the time to congratulate me for reaching the midpoint of my life.

The above just shows to go you (a little variety of expression) how important optimism becomes when attempting to play good bridge.

Whomever said “down one is good bridge” either 1. forgot to cover the waterfront or, 2. after being gifted by someone throwing horse manure in one’s front yard, looked around back for the certain Shetland pony he would find or 3, if astoundingly lucky, succeeded as well as the little Dutch boy who averted disaster by putting his finger in the dike.

Bob LiptonOctober 14th, 2020 at 3:47 pm

88 years. My goodness and congratulations to us at still having you around!


David SOctober 14th, 2020 at 4:05 pm


Since everyone else is doing so, let me pile on and wish you a Happy Birthday too, bobby!

Haaaapppyyy Birthdayyy!

Iain ClimieOctober 14th, 2020 at 4:27 pm

Hi Bobby,

On the subject of pianos, you might find the following amusing (US conductor Andre Previn and English comic duo Morecambe and Wise):

Just ignore the last bit on age, though – we want you here for MUCH longer.


bobbywolffOctober 14th, 2020 at 4:37 pm

Hi Bob,

Although, too often, my body likes to pretend I am that young (88), I know better, and especially when bridge is the subject, I am not a day over 44.

However, I am frantically looking for a dictionary or encyclopedia definition which boldly suggests that an 88 year old bridge player can play up to standards but as yet, have not found one.

However, what do they know, only as much as computers can feed them and bridge robots have terrible reputations.

Bob, don’t expect my demise anytime soon, at least until our beloved game is FOREVER rid of the creepy, crawly CHEATERS who infest us, both PAST & PRESENT!

A welcome start may be that any lawyer who plays honest bridge and has a conscience, to REFUSE to represent them.

Thanks for your recognition and congratulations to the rest of us!i

bobbywolffOctober 14th, 2020 at 4:45 pm

Hi David S.,

MMMUUUUCCCCCH THANKS, of course an excellent 3-4-5-1, a most effective and positive distribution.

bobbywolffOctober 14th, 2020 at 6:19 pm

Hi again Iain, and then another again,

I certainly did enjoy the relative slapstick humor, especially combining giants from the classical music world with it.

It is somewhat similar to Little Orphan Annie hooking up with a professional wrestler, but, in truth, possibly more than one may think, it might just work since opposites do attract, for example. bridge experts with mates who do not even play.

Michael BeyroutiOctober 14th, 2020 at 9:11 pm

Although late to the party,
Happy Birthday Mr Wolff!
May you stay 44 for ever!

bobbywolffOctober 14th, 2020 at 9:27 pm

Hi Michael,

That’s what the Egyptians tried to do, producing one of the Wonders of the World.

All I want is my mummy.

Much thanks for your wish,

jim2October 15th, 2020 at 8:24 am

Indeed, Happy Birthday!

(Was mostly off net yesterday)

bobbywolffOctober 15th, 2020 at 7:01 pm

Hi Jim2,

Although you obviously have created an enormous faux pas, better known and pronounced as a fox pass, creating it on a wolf is worth, in addition to a thousand lashes, the duty to turn the current pandemic into you infecting TOCM TM to all my many current and specific bridge opponents, who for years, because of undeserved lucky streaks, have been unconsciously beating me down.

If you succeed, I will send you an autographed thank you note to which you may show it to only one of any friends you may or may not have.

In addition I will make every effort to develop a TOCM TM vaccine for only your use, which directly or indirectly will enable you to perhaps win a bridge tournament or, at least for the first time, finish above average. It may take several years, due to testing procedure to make sure it doesn’t work, for it to be available to my enemies.

However, never fear, even if it doesn’t work you can always turn to what so many of my erstwhile fellow pros and sponsors have done, insured superior results by what should be called a “little” sleight of hand. (easy on the “sleight”).

Social indiscretions need to be, if you’ll excuse my reference, dealt with.

Patrick CheuOctober 16th, 2020 at 6:34 am

Hi Bobby,Happy Birthday! Sorry for being late.All the Best-Patrick

bobbywolffOctober 16th, 2020 at 1:03 pm

Hi Patrick,

One only need to be sorry when “late” becomes your first name.

And even if that arrives, expected or not, we may answer, the devil we say as to whether a form of TOCM TM engulfs the player as an entrance requirement, but then the bidding may change so that the fewer tricks one side takes, may work as a positive advantage with the live scoring system in effect.

On the other hand, and going up rather than down, perhaps the South player (usually like real life or bridge column writers, the player with the better hand) never gets punished for making mistakes, but perhaps with the same logo “down one is good bridge” but in every case, it actually is.

Everything positive happens, overbidders go set, underbidders have all their finesses onside and suits breaking well, cheaters are caught, but not let free by unqualified idiots who judge their cases or by zealous protectors who judge friendship and/or Nationalism ahead of the game, not to mention “misery loves company”,

IOW, bridge justice prevails, as it should and the most beautiful phrase to be heard is simply
“Table Up”!

If only heaven would send a few examples down on a consistent basis, we may be better prepared for that success, but perhaps we need to be careful what we wish for, since all that happening may not have as good an effect as thought. IOW, “BORING”!