Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 30th, 2020


David WarheitNovember 14th, 2020 at 4:02 am

One final possibility. W wins trick 1 and leads a second S. S wins and leads trumps, W wins and returns a trump and S finishes drawing trumps. Now S, playing duplicate, knows that W has 2 S & 3 H and that E has 5 S & 2 H, so the odds are 8-6 that W has the DQ (nothing in the bidding seeming to change the odds), so S plays W for the DQ and makes an overtrick for a top score. I know your dislike for duplicate, but it is a game and you gotta go by the rules, so what do you think?

Bobby WolffNovember 14th, 2020 at 5:38 am

Hi David,

In truth you melted down our game to a simple game of hide and seek, similar to the ones which hide always to have various places to hide with one having one or two (in this case) more than the other.

By simple arithmetic the seeker will, if absolutely no other evidence is available, and there is no additional G2 or other factor which matters, always guess the location of the one who has the fewest places.

Although the above example is quite simple and childish, it basically is on track to what you are saying.

However, there is always some evidence worth considering, such as did West flinch when it was his first turn to bid which could be interpreted as perhaps more likely to have the diamond queen (for his flinch) or rather than West being very battle worn where a flinch by him and then pass is more likely to be from a complete Yarborough (as many experienced players act).

However the above is the constant poker element our game has always been about, not necessarily only a numbers game involving percentages.

However, in truth, I cannot deny that your post struck home as to the better scientific way to merely guess, with no other clues (which IMO almost never happens).

It is not that I dislike duplicate bridge, but rather regard it, despite shortcomings, as, in its way, more enjoyable to play, except that again IMO it lacks the incredible allure which rubber bridge and IMPs possess which, at least to me, has exactly the right amount of luck needed, not too much, nor too little.

I always appreciate your wisdom.