Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, January 20th, 2021


Iain ClimieFebruary 3rd, 2021 at 9:47 am

Hi Bobby,

Interesting point here from declarer’s play of the diamond suit. The D9 will surely get covered by a player with Q107x whereas the D8 is more likely to slip past West. In similar veing suppose you had QJ108x opposite Axx in dummy but no outside entry. If you lead the Q, West with Kx or K9 will surely cover. If you lead the 10 and the K pops up, there is a fair case for assuming it is singleton – West wouldn’t risk you having Q1098x and covering the 10 with Kx when he’s just set up the whole suit.



Bobby WolffFebruary 3rd, 2021 at 4:08 pm

Hi Iain,
Obviously your keen bridge mind has been focusing on unusual card combinations (and how to guess them) with, of course, its effect.
Since one's like today (with the defensive diamond play by West) seldom arising, it might (will) cause a defender trouble with his tempo when and if it does. Add to that the known fact (among experienced players) that declarer is almost, when at the table, always in control of the tempo, leaving no doubt of his significant, though not likely meant to be by the rules makers, his advantage.
About the only legal (and I think sort of ethical defense against it), is for the defensive partnership to play in a herky-jerky style, not too fast nor too slow, when even not facing a worrisome problem (or even sometimes, any sort of one).
IOW, if West is holding 10xx he should not have to play a small one extremely fast, but rather to be able to slow it down a beat.
Therefore by herky jerky, I do not mean too fast nor particularly not too slow, but only one which is tailored to offset declarer often being in a position to make brilliant plays by the "forced" carefree nature of taking advantage (by fiat) of West's superior ethics (as seen today).
Yes, it is a fine ethical line to discuss, and among excellent players there may be (an underbid) different views (usually biased, depending on whose bull is being gored).
Leaving us with the obvious path of following the lead of the three little animals whose porridge was neither too hot, too cold, nor not necessarily just perfect, but rather whatever temperature it was, will not be too cleverly determined by a declarer bent on taking too much advantage of his position.
To say the above is similar to Pandora's box may be (again) an understatement, but, at the very least, this conundrum should be grist for the mill of crucial ethics committees, to which, in the past, I had more experience with, than likely anyone ever, (chairing the committee, but not fortunately appearing before them).

Bobby WolffFebruary 3rd, 2021 at 5:08 pm

Hi Iain (again),

You make a resounding point with your discussion of when opponents will cover and when they won’t.

If they sometimes surprise you (such as covering the 10 with the king, likely showing a singleton, when it is not, at least to me, it is either a rank novice doing it or instead, perhaps one of the greatest ever-likely not in between.

Is bridge a great game-or what?

Iain ClimieFebruary 3rd, 2021 at 5:15 pm

Hi Bobby,

Thanks for that and a possible oversight on my part in that West with K9 alone will surely cover the 10. Now has he hot K alone or K9 doubleton.



Bobby WolffFebruary 3rd, 2021 at 5:59 pm

Hi Iain,

And your above exception (K9) only makes bridge more of a huge advantage going to a mathematical mind than possibly ever realized in the forever past.

Perhaps the playing of bridge should be a prerequisite to 1st grade (or even kindergarten).

If so, two things may happen, bridge pros, being more in demand, will rise thousands of places in professions of choice

First, I will suggest it to my great grandchildren, and next “Table Up” will be their first words of choice, provided, of course, that English will be their native language.