Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, February 8th, 2021


Steve ConradFebruary 22nd, 2021 at 5:02 pm

For obvious reasons, I love to call this “The Finesse That Wins When It Loses.”

David SnookFebruary 22nd, 2021 at 6:06 pm


This hand brings to mind a comment you made a couple of weeks ago, Bobby…

To the effect, “Look over your hand very carefully BEFORE laying down the first card and plan your play out!”

And this hand looks to be a textbook example in support of that axiom.

This is something that really good pool players say too… plan your game in reverse before you start shooting.

(Btw… I was around all last week, looking at the blocking hands… an excellent lesson)

bobbywolffFebruary 22nd, 2021 at 6:38 pm

Hi Steve,

Certainly true in the way you meant it, but don’t bother telling it to your partner (at least for the time being) when you are engaged at tournament duplicate pair bridge, you then take a losing finesse in clubs, to the knave.

Sad but true, since all the other declarer’s in that contract (which should easily be most, if not all of the field) will have a good chance of making more tricks than you, whether it be by hopeful optimism, by what he or she thinks, intelligent design, or, perhaps, just as likely, by lack of knowledge.

Either way your partnership will pay a price, but both you and especially your partner should realize that you know what you are doing and, in perhaps a relatively close decision opted to insure what the game of bridge was meant to emphasize—MAKE YOUR CONTRACT, WITHOUT RISK IF POSSIBLE1

Yes, duplicate bridge pair games are sometimes a bastardized version of our superlative game almost always caused by its mantra, frequency of gain, rather than amount.

Thanks for your indulgence in reading this.

bobbywolffFebruary 22nd, 2021 at 6:53 pm

Hi David,

Yes, taking one’s time at trick one, even though, at that moment there was no problem, is almost always the proper time to plan and to avoid future petty mistakes (as well as serious ones).

Also thanks for comparing it with pool, a mostly physical challenge instead of mental, but still worth taking one’s time to plan the following shot before executing the first.

Also, I appreciate your enjoying discussion about blocking plays, which in truth are usually not known in advance (because cards are not transparent) but likely occur more often than expected, but even when not, give inner pleasure to oneself (as well as to others watching, especially your partner) whether or not they become necessary.

Robert LiptonFebruary 23rd, 2021 at 1:35 am

The interesting thing is that if west had led a low spade and east had popped the Queen, every duffer would have seen the safety play of taking the club hook.

bobbywolffFebruary 23rd, 2021 at 4:26 pm

Hi Robert,

Yes, you are right on target, but bridge itself, during both the bidding and play, is full of that brand of irony. Much, having nothing to do with right or wrong, but rather just random events signifying little or nothing, except often whether the contract is fulfilled or sadly, sometimes not.