Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, December 29th, 2020


Iain ClimieJanuary 12th, 2021 at 4:41 pm

HI Bobby,

Should East double in 4th position on today’s play hand or is it too much of a punt? After all West could easily have a balanced 13-14 points with a trump trick when at least EW would get a reasonable plus score. If East doubles, should west bid 4S (obviously yes as the cards lie) or hope to go plus by passing?



Bobby WolffJanuary 12th, 2021 at 5:36 pm

Hi Iain,

Obviously the often decision we both worry about is simply risk vs. gain, easy to say, much more difficult to likely average about 75%+ with your results.

What then are the factors? My guess, shortness in opponent’s long suit, opponent’s tendencies to either be conservative (fewer times to act positive against) or aggressive (in case of close, act). middle (your mistake?), and to be warned, are there players who are guessing at you, the same way you guess about them? Vulnerability is always an important factor as is in tournament judgment with a tendency (IMO) to be aggressive at matchpoints and less so at IMPs, but all the above needs to be taken in a relative sense since, although vital, still a major question and factor which needs to be answered. Of course at rubber bridge (money) is as an individual views it, but NEVER to shy away from aggression, since then your stereotype will cost you and your partner money from cowardice. Never forget that being too conservative and being plus 150 (down 3 from your opponents when game is also on for your side is much more terrible than it feels since the IMMUTABLE law of averages will bite you soon to make you (and your partner) pay for that GROSS error!

Having said the above (and if anything I have underestimated its cost due to loss of that partnership’s confidence, the result of which which will also show up soon).

Having given the above rant, I think East in today’s column hand is indeed borderline on whether to act, but when playing against very good players and at that unfavorable vulnerability I would double and either rejoice later or die with my boots on.

Remember if you think internally that your partnership is unlucky, it is almost always because you are not aggressive enough since
there is NO SUCH THING as continued bad luck (with the exception of Jim2 with his TOCM TM) wink, wink!

Sure, aggressive action sometimes loses, but it is best to be consistent and, together with partner, tend to play one’s opponents, but to do so is to pay attention to what one’s opponents (particularly at bridge clubs when ftof bridge returns (assuming it will and soon).

Of course, since my guess is that you have never been accused of being those nasty two words, too conservative, but possibly the other way around.

IOW, my guess is to be aggressive, unless there is a known reason not to be (and there is usually not). Therefore I have talked my way into certainly acting on today’s hand in the fourth chair with a reopening double against the NV preempt on one’s left.