Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, January 23rd, 2021


A V Ramana RaoFebruary 6th, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Very well played hand. Prompted me to look up quotes on optimist and pessimist and came up with the following:
Both optimists and pessimists contribute to society. The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute.
George Bernard Shaw,
So, your partner lifted you to sky but you made safe landing ( no , I am not calling you a pessimist , just a realist) and BTW , what is the rationale of west in leading a club, perhaps a heart lead is indicated on which south must go down as he cannot duck a club effectively as if dummy plays a low club, east can play eight and if south wins, West jettisons Q ( if dummy plays ten , east covers J) without which there is no play for ninth trick

jim2February 6th, 2021 at 12:41 pm

Our Host glossed over several nuances in this hand!

I am sure I must have missed some, but consider:

1) West did NOT open 1N, yet apparently has no 5-card suit and probably not four hearts
2) East did not put in a one heart bid, despite likely having five of them
3) Since West bid one diamond, that suit is longer than clubs, but a club was led

The above trio paints a pretty clear picture of the opponents’ hands. Balanced vulnerable West must be just shy of a 1N opener, so 13-14 HCP. East must not have quite enough to respond one heart vulnerable despite holding five, so must be under 5 HCPs. Since E-W hold a total of 8 HCPs, West must have 14 and East 4. All other combinations have either West opening 1N or East responding one heart! Additionally, West is most likely 3-3-4-3, but led a club in preference to a spade, hinting at KQx.

I am confident there are others, but seeing even the ones above in real time at the table would probably be beyond me and also proves to me that Our Host still “has it.” 🙂

jim2February 6th, 2021 at 12:42 pm

Sorry typo: E-W hold 18 HCPs — lost the “1”

Jeff SFebruary 6th, 2021 at 2:53 pm

Hi Bobby,

Was the 2NT bid made in the context of a passed hand showing four spades and not a whole lot else? Asked another way, if West had dealt this hand so that on the same auction, South was not a passed hand, do you pass out 2S?


Bobby WolffFebruary 6th, 2021 at 4:11 pm


Thanks for your bridge analysis, sticking to the main theme of optimism, and. of course. your kind words.

However, the accent of the result should be tied directly to lady luck, since West did not lead a heart, instead of a club, probably because of the possession of his 10 of hearts to make it seem to be just too likely, to cost a trick.

In any event, although we finished nowhere in the money in this event, it is always a positive to bring home a difficult hand, satisfying the optimistic feelings bridge can often render.

Bobby WolffFebruary 6th, 2021 at 4:25 pm

Hi Jim2,

To say that your bridge analysis seems (and is) so complete is always an understatement.

You seem to always go the extra distance to include every fact, big or merely incidental, without missing a “trick” as to its role.

No doubt, that great calling you possess would and I’m sure did make you a great success in all your undertakings. And if you are interested in how important the above fact becomes, I would choose our beloved and chosen favorite game to rank up there in determining who the very best world players have a chance of becoming.

Of course, in order to challenge for whatever appears in one’s life is often merely a happenstance and most all of us are merely pawns in that choice since going with the flow is the more likely thing to happen.

In any event, thanks for your sensational pure analysis to which all of your readers, at least the ones who are fascinated by our game, are indeed fortunate to obtain.

Bobby WolffFebruary 6th, 2021 at 5:13 pm

Hi Jeff S,

Seymon and I were just casual partners, having gone to school together, and gotten together later in life through friendship, both being bridge lovers, but living in different cities, both in Texas.

Therefore, yes I would not have freely raised spades with Seymon’s hand, but he did and then capped it off by raising my 2NT (also perhaps an overbid with returning to 3 spades an alternative).

However, like life itself is unpredictable, bridge is also and sometimes supreme optimism pays off, with this being a prime example.

To answer your question directly, IMO I also overbid relying on my good intermediate cards (10s and 9s) instead of passing 2 spades, but I did think he had a little more than he had.

A valuable lesson to be learned, when optimism is partnered by optimism, it helps to be lucky.

jim2February 7th, 2021 at 2:49 am

I am confident that what I posted went though your mind at the table.

Much easier to do staring at a screen w/o anyone watching/waiting, and after a gazillion other hands before it.

Bobby WolffFebruary 7th, 2021 at 4:26 pm

Hi Jim2,

No doubt much of what you say is, at the very least, a key to unlock all bridge players best performance.

IOW, the ability to totally concentrate on any real task in hand, certainly not restricted to just playing good bridge, is, at least to me, more than half the battle. It also applies, in one’s personal life with decisions, during wartime when in the trenches, deciding on key business decisions, regardless of one’s stature or importance, and necessary to be said, staying on the right side of the law, whether it vitally effects many others, or only just a few, as well of course as simply playing bridge without a thought of how one appears or any of the individual fears one needs to conquer.

IOW, for playing one’s best bridge, he or she needs to feel on an island, all by himself, with nothing else at stake but the simple task ahead.

Sounds a little like Rudyard Kipling’s “IF” but if it does, it will make me satisfied and very happy.