Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, March 21st, 2021


Iain ClimieApril 4th, 2021 at 2:37 pm

Hi Bobby,

I just wondered if there were any acceptable way round Lega Eagle’s conundrum e.g. the hand over the 4N bidder putting in a slow pass or “accidentally” dropping a couple of cards on the floor. Flippancy aside, the slow reply does convey UI i that a response to show 1 key card would be easy enough to work out, whereas it may almost be tempting to invent another bid rather than bid 5D if partner might pass. If, as you suggest, the auction has started 1S-1N-3D-4D-4H then it should be clear enough that opener hasn’t got only 1 key card (although hands could doubtless be invented) but this is an ethical minefield.



bobbywolffApril 4th, 2021 at 7:00 pm

Hi Iain,

And to continue your last sentence quote, “and IMO it will always be so”.

First, there are all sorts of situations, both during the bidding and defensive card play, which could tend to give unauthorized information to partner as well as “clever” (for want of not wanting to use “sleazy”) declarer ponders, with nothing to ponder about, except to possibly create doubt in the defender’s mind as to who holds what, in order to hope to lead the unknowing defender into having a greater chance to go wrong.

After all my many years of attempting to play this beautiful game, I do not know of a method or simple way, of avoiding these traps except to mentally keep tab of who may practice these ethical conundrums, and keep them in mind, just in case someone also qualified to decide on “bad for the game” brings up, the subject.

My guess is that through the years “bad guys” become known and although there is not (at least up to now) a “bridge jail” in operation, that reputation, even if isolated, is not a place that any good player would like to be thrown.

In truth, and at different levels, methinks that the above solution is strong enough to keep any bridge hopeful as far away from “petty” or perhaps “not so petty” bad behavior from being able to acquire the status everyone seeks.

However, the real horrible stuff, “collusive cheating” is a different story and many so-called champions should hang their heads in shame, even if they never get officially caught, but now with “professionalism” ever present, there is no doubt that our game is in major jeopardy, just like all other sports, (mostly physical ones) because of dirty filthy money involved.

BTW, I think in the above case that the slow response was more likely trying to remember his system (showing 4 controls) or even very possible, what the meaning could be, (possibly natural) of the specific bid by his partner.

However, his problem we can and have, done IMO, a decent job, but not to ban collusive cheats forever is, at least to me, NOT the answer and until they do, we will always be subject to others searching for different horrible ways to kill it and unless we do something notable, they will succeed.

Simply described, someone who collusively cheats in actuality, HATES the game and knows he or she cannot win unless they go the evil route, so how bad is forever banning them so that all the other bridge lovers can continue on playing the game the way it must be played?

And all the lawyers whose life work has been in defending others, should also realize that sure, if they think their client is innocent then defend him, but, if not, and he needs to learn what bridge is about first, then fully understand if he, the lawyer has none or little doubt about his client’s guilt, then either step aside or not take our beautiful game down with him.

YES, while many lawyers will condemn me for saying so, for the common good, they need to cooperate and at the most, try to get a good deal, but one which does not allow that guilty client from ever playing tournament bridge again.

Why? simply because our game will soon end if and when that kind of cheating continues.