Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, March 4th, 2021


bobbywolffMarch 18th, 2021 at 2:13 pm

Hi Any or Everyone,

Call today a mundane hand which in life might emphasize practical, but methinks in bridge, rather instead, separating winners from losers.

However, perhaps just general words, particularly as applied to our great game, will not allow my view to be fully understood.

NS started out the bidding in typical mode of showing both value and agreement as to the trump suit. (worth a game try and hearts as trump). All well, good, and necessary.

Then the so-called picture bidding came into being, where South made his game try, where he lived, spades and North matched up by doing the same, although he might have been a trifle less ambitious and with his minimum high card holding (and 3-3-3-4 distribution), in spite of holding two sure tricks with his together AK, only returned to 3 hearts.

South, after hearing North’s tacit acceptance, then wasted no more time and opted for game.

All, though a trifle optimistic, well within the good judgment of a winning pair.

However, in spite of the simple fact that good defense would have defeated NS, but didn’t, in spite of South going out of his way to help them getting the defense right when his two spade bid should have been taken literally and West should have known to duck the king of spades, having been present during the bidding, together with being fully aware that South would (should) have the queen of spades and also, because of his game try and then next time at bat, acceptance.

IOWs, I do not even begin to approve of NS’s bidding sequence, although the final contract was decent (though not the right percentage). To me, the NS bidding should have led to their defeat by the simple fact of telling their opponents too much about their hands, while in fact, not really, helping much, if any at all, by not so cleverly describing their hands in too much detail.

IOW, yes, South should definitely make a game try after getting raised to 2 hearts, but no, that game try by South should not blueprint the defense to their enemy.

Needless to say, I also think that North should only return to 3 hearts, regardless of the other suit South was showing him, but by bidding 3 diamonds, on another day allowing the opening leader a more knowledgeable suit to lead (suppose South had the Qx of diamonds instead of clubs).

Summing it up, yes bridge is a sensational mind game, but part of that mind competition is to make it more difficult for those worthy opponents, especially so, when it is not at all necessary (with few exceptions) to allow them to basically play with more or less greater transparency while on defense.

Mircea GiurgeuMarch 18th, 2021 at 3:04 pm


I’m a bit confused about your comments. You’re saying “yes, South should definitely make a game try after getting raised to 2 hearts, but no, that game try by South should not blueprint the defense to their enemy”. From what I know about this game, any information you convey to partner is also available to the opponents. Sometimes that leads to defeat, as is the case here, but other times is the only way to win – like if declarer’s hand had Qx in instead of diamonds instead of clubs – as you’re saying in your comments.

Am I missing something?

A V Ramana RaoMarch 18th, 2021 at 3:27 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
But after West cashes high clubs and leads another, it appears that south makes the contract on a dummy reversal for e.g., south ruffs third club, crosses to diamond A , ruffs fourth club , crosses to diamond , ruffs diamond and leads two high trumps in hand felling ten from east and leads K of spades and since spade J is falling on second round and with the presence of all important nine of hearts in dummy, south romps home with ten tricks losing just spade A apart from the two club tricks.So for defeating the contract, West must shift to a trump at T2 and repeat trump when with club K. If dummy wins, West will have a trump promotion else south falls short of entries for dummy reversal

bobbywolffMarch 18th, 2021 at 3:31 pm

Hi Mircea,

Sorry, and I should apologize for not making my
point clear. Everything in today’s hand is OK except, the unnecessary information given EW by NS, while not being of real advantage to the pair who gave it. IOW, bid forward in another suit instead of 2 spades for South.

Any move forward by the stronger hand almost always results in the same thing, their partner (receiving the move forward) and regardless of what is bid, either rejects or accepts the invitation, not depending on the specific bid, but only the fact he bid on, becomes the invitation itself.

So why create a blueprint of what to do to your
possible worthy opponents? Make them guess, first on opening lead and then, as here, knowing that South must have the Queen of spades when he leads low to the king, enabling West to duck, causing the defeat of the game contract, which is a huge swing caused by what could be construed as “loose lips”. This time should have caused this ship to then sink, but of course did not, do to a horrible winning of the king of spades by West.

Next time I will try to make it more clear and thanks for writing.

A V Ramana RaoMarch 18th, 2021 at 3:40 pm

Please ignore ” if dummy wins” in last sentence ( dummy cannot win as east still holds ten). South lacks entries for dummy reversal and West can win spade A, return trump and wait for the spade trick

Mircea GiurgeuMarch 18th, 2021 at 3:42 pm

Thanks for your reply, Bobby.

So what should South do after 2H, blast to 4H?

bobbywolffMarch 18th, 2021 at 3:48 pm


It is a question of emphasis. Methinks, almost all game tries, whatever they happen to be, are not a good barometer to be specific in exactly the suit bid, going forward, since sometimes shortness in that suit is the key factor, at other times a necessary matching honor would help the most, and even bidding forward with AQ10 or KJx, (where one’s side values are located) will be more helpful to the enemy than to partner.

And IMO, that seems to happen much more often than what most bidder’s think, making the giving of that information antithetical to declarer’s side.

However, if anyone is still confused, please let me know and, if not already explored, I’ll continue to try, since I think it important enough to make an issue of it.

Of course, the opponents are then entitled to know that one’s move forward doesn’t either show nor deny anything specific.

BTW, in high-level bridge I doubt seriously that the immediately above ethical comment needs to even be made, unless asked about, since it is so commonplace at that level of play and if not, I’d be very surprised if even average- players had not at least, thought about that aspect, since it almost jumps right at someone.

bobbywolffMarch 18th, 2021 at 3:58 pm

Hi Mircea,

While I prefer an invitation to game rather than a punt (European) to it, but that invitation by the opening bidder will not be meant as a descriptive one, meaning the validity of any particular holding in that suit bid is at the risk of the defender and not considered of real value to the bidder’s partner. IOW, it can be described as a psycher’s paradise.

While I now am perplexed, my guess is that I am really feeling naive instead of just stupid for not expecting others to be unfamiliar with this subject. If so, this interlude has its advantages.

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