Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, March 31st, 2021


Iain ClimieApril 14th, 2021 at 11:31 am

Hi Bobby,

Doesn’t the same criticism about East’s spade discard apply to West here as he / she could have let one diamond go to keep another club. Obviously with the sight of all 4 hands things are easy but declarer doesn’t know if this D ditch is from Jxx, Axx or xxx (although then West might keep more clubs) Also, you said that East has at most 3 hearts; unless West is doing something very odd with KJ10x or East has found the H9 from K9xx (improbable surely) then the heart position is pretty clear. Still very nicely played by South, though.

On BWTA, how much more would you want in diamonds before considering 2N over 2H? Put the CK in there and I think it is clear cut, while with DQ10xx or even J109x I’d go for 2N but I’m less than ecstatic about rebidding J10 to 5 in spades here, although I assume it is still forcing. My bidding knpowledge still hasn’t really caught up after all those years away from the game.



bobbywolffApril 14th, 2021 at 2:50 pm

Hi Iain,

You are, as usual, right in several discards by the defenders, concentrating too much on their own hands and not enough on giving away their distribution to the dreaded enemy.

The first discard by East of a spade, while looking normal to many players, is indeed nothing short of horrible. Again, not in the necessity, of being useful as a potential trick or stop, but so very important as to not make your hand a transparency to a good declarer.

While West’s failure to discard a diamond from Axx instead of a penultimate club from his original 6 card holding was not as bad, as a tell, but takes away the danger of what happened, declarer not having to guess where the critical diamond jack was located.

And, of course, the ability of a competent declarer of, at the crucial moment, forcing the opponents to play 1st and 3rd instead of the giveaway 2nd and 4th in diamonds.

The above, as you so clearly emphasized, is a study of when experience, South, meets lack of, first East and then West, what often happens.

All in a good cause, if and when EW can learn from what happened. Then one bad result is a very inexpensive price to forever understand how a defensive partnership needs to never play and/or discard in such a telltale way, or else forever be regarded as very soft by their more sophisticated opponents.

Thanks for taking your time to make your very intelligent points very clear.

Regarding the BWTA, sometimes bridge bidding discipline should consider taking a back seat to practicality with the responder just up and passing 2 hearts (he technically had an original pass, instead of his 1 spade response, but probably including both of us to also venture forward), but now when partner’s next bid appears to be even more evidence of a misfit (although 2 hearts might be somewhat artificial), still I would consider and probably pass, preparing to apologize if wrong.

However, we all know that to the winner go the spoils, and sometimes discretion is the better part of bridge valor.

IOW, please do not spread my lack of partnership discipline around, but after a lifetime of playing, methinks passing here will be worth whatever criticism comes from it (but perhaps only 75% of the time), especially after my dummy comes down.

However, human nature being what it is, I do not expect any kudos from my partner, only perhaps an ugly glare, but perhaps later, especially if I turn out right, I will escape an ugly partnership critique. Big optimist, I!

Finally, if I bid (ugh) since 2NT is one higher than is 2 spades, I would opt for the spade rebid, only making it easier to pass partner’s next bid, probably another no, no!