Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 1st, 2021


A V Ramana RaoApril 15th, 2021 at 10:44 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
South played well for his ambitious bidding but also appears to be lucky because most of the NS perhaps would play this in Six spades and most of them would go down but some lucky ones might play for the backward finesse in spades and succeed. Bridge can be both rewarding and frustrating at times

A V Ramana RaoApril 15th, 2021 at 1:21 pm

And if this hand occurred in a pairs event, south can straightaway opt for backward finesse in spades as he would realise that if normal finesse works in spades, every pair bidding slam in spades would score. Also if north happens to bid Six NT, he would still make it as east in all the probability will not lead a diamond and in all cases south would score a bottom for making six clubs. However, if he opts for backward finesse, he would be scoring much above average today. But of course both squeeze and backward finesse is charming in its own way and at the end satisfaction is what matters

bobbywolffApril 15th, 2021 at 2:52 pm


Turning attention to what appears to be your main theme, while playing matchpoints, and then choices of slams while in hope of not choosing the solidity of clubs, but venturing aggressive (such as the wartime quote), I would bet that even the Oriental leader “Sun Tzu”, if faced with a choice, would opt for clubs rather than spades or especially NT.

At least to me, and particularly so if the bidding suggested a difficult 12 tricks ahead, no doubt whatever form of bridge was played, try and choose the trump suit which offered the more chances of success.

Methinks that choice, particularly from the viewpoint of South, is clubs and by a significant margin. Less gamble, eliminates ace and anther club as a possible immediate defeat against spades, different type better percentage choices available with clubs as trump with no commitment necessary till later in the hand, all adding up to the general’s theme of wartime strategy, which often mirrors bridge in determining winning strategy.

The backward finesse in spades, blotting out the ten instead of only playing for the queen to be onside is indeed a much higher risk when clubs are forsaken as the trump suit.

However dreams of glory at a less likely make, make for good bridge columns, but sadly will not bring home the more important goal of success.

And further, to opt for 6NT when one hand is 5-1-0-7, with other major problems to solve, creates risks which doesn’t agree with today’s poignant quote.

However, thanks for livening up the discussion by discussing what ifs. No doubt of interest to many explorers and ones who seek adventure but let’s hope it is not thought about in reasonable terms by most bridge players, but only in emergency circumstances, perhaps, as a fill-in declarer.

jim2April 16th, 2021 at 12:37 am

Wellll, if I tried the backwards finesse, TOCM(tm) would surely swap the major suit sixes.

bobbywolffApril 16th, 2021 at 1:01 am

Hi Jim2,

How lucky you are to know your fate, before it even happens.

However, it might be your only salvation to find a player, play against him, make sure he also has TOCM TM, and let the chips fall where they may.

Only two possible results, a total average round (both pairs suffering), and/or while playing matchpoints, finishing next to last in your section with an exact average score.

jim2April 16th, 2021 at 2:51 am

If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all …

bobbywolffApril 16th, 2021 at 8:38 am

Hi Jim2,

One thing is dead certain, the AOB is off the charts lucky to have both your expertise and thus comments, irrespective of your not so small handicap
of the only player (years unlimited) to only win finesses when underb9idding, but never when otherwise.

Yes, I know that the above may also follow the law of averages, but in the most unkind way, possibly creating a different statistic to be mathematically analyzed, which could, in its own way, revolutionize the industry.