Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, December 15th, 2020


Iain ClimieDecember 29th, 2020 at 2:14 pm

HI Bobby,

There is a possible UI problem for East- West here but it seems to resolve itself. If West plays low from HJx East will feel obliged to regard this as HJxx and play another club rather than have the HA ruffed even though East “knows” that West may have discouraged from Jx. So honour gets satisfied I think.


Iain Climie

bobbywolffDecember 29th, 2020 at 2:59 pm

Hi Iain,

Thanks for touching (I might say grabbing instead) on fairly common ethical problems to which a competitive bridge table may be first tortured and then become rowdy.

If West, while possessing J42 of hearts but also the King of clubs does not smoothly play the 2 of hearts, assuming his partnership plays standard count (H-L even) but very low trump the defensive partnership might be heading for a committee, if and when the partner of the opening leader then rules out his partner having only a singleton heart.

The argument would be based on the UI information that partner’s slow deuce precluded a singleton, which, of course is possible (on the actual bidding).

This in turn can be clouded by West having a doubleton heart but also the king of clubs, snd either an intermediate spade (including the ten or, of course, not) probably causing West to need to think.

No doubt, bridge can be similar to a jealous mistress in its demand for no transmittal of unauthorized information even if by doing so, challenges a player to think faster than many players (possibly most) cannot.

Some would claim unfair, but unfortunately the game itself needs that caveat to be active and thus always a factor in a player’s ethical duty to not take advantage (applies to both partners).

Yes, West may be faced with a Hobson’s choice of playing slow, running the risk of a nasty committee or making the wrong play, signalling high because of nothing to lose by establishing those hearts with the possibility of, if partner doesn’t cash the ace he may not get it.

One last comment, please before offering a different solution, please examine the effect on our game, if one may be allowed to think which one to play, if he only possessed a singleton.

The above may not apply on this hand and doesn’t, but on another similar overall holding, it may.

My feeling in the above is why you brought up this important subject and if so, thank you, in spite of this subject being at least, somewhat controversial.

AgnesJanuary 2nd, 2021 at 2:24 pm

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