Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, April 7th, 2021


Iain ClimieApril 21st, 2021 at 9:25 am

Hi Bobby,

I assume that the Ambrose Bierce quote is from the Devil’s Dictionary; if anyone isn’t familiar with this, can I heartily recommend it. Apparently it was published as a whole around 1906 but the various entries were generated by Bierce sporadically in the preceding 25 years. Anyone thinking savage, cynical and lethally accurate humour is a purely modern phenomenon will soon be persuaded otherwise by Bierce and many others.

The H combination today is interesting, even without the 9. Ignoring the need to keep someone off lead, the best play for 3 tricks is to cash HK, HA and then lead towards the Jx, having the great advantage of picking up Qx offside.

On BWTA, the advantage of going slowly is that reaching game by fits and starts may persuade an opponent who “doesn’t believe this auction” to wield the axe with painful results for the defending side.



A V Ramana RaoApril 21st, 2021 at 10:00 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff & lain
Nice hand but perhaps since south has still control over spades, he might as well play heart to K in hand at T2 followed by heart. Today, Q appears and south makes an OT by cashing three diamonds noting that West is long, two high spades and throw in east with fourth heart. In case Q doesn’t appear but west plays ten, dummy can hop up with A and heart nine returned which ensures the contract and if west plays low, dummy inserts nine. Again, south makes the contract if east wins nine with Q or hearts break and with additional chance that diamonds break
And with reference to the quote, perhaps sometimes even windfalls occur due to the immutable laws of nature

bobbywolffApril 21st, 2021 at 4:42 pm

Hi Iain,

First, “The devil you say”! If ever that expression belonged, it probably does with bridge. And since I was born in at least the vicinity of the date mentioned (at least I sometimes feel that way), perhaps I should give Ambrose a look.

Next, I will entirely agree with your mention of leading the king first and its pluses and minuses (especially in catching East with a singleton Q and not being falsecarded with Q10 doubleton especially when West apparently led from his four card suit (spades) instead of from 5 hearts including the 10), all evidence to consider.

Finally, with your concluding comment, about getting doubled because of the responder’s original minimum response could be interpreted as at least a slight overreach and thus be subject to one of Ambrose Bierce’s temper tantrums (only if he was the partner of the doubler, and, of course, if they scored up the contract, making it an unlikely parlay.

Finally, yes 2 diamonds only is a significant underbid to partner’s TO double, but we can all understand the reluctance to instead chirp 3 diamonds or instead a cue bid, while without 4 of the other major. Perhaps the opponents (and later the director) will agree to a compromise of 3 climonds, which will allow partner more options (please note the original c instead of d). Or at the very least, make partner an original passed hand, but my team was obviously not feeling charitable that particular day. Thus, “go low, sweet chariot”.

bobbywolffApril 21st, 2021 at 4:51 pm


Thanks for your usual accurate analysis.

And why does the word “windfall” allow that noise to make the benefactor feel so much better than does the word, “accident”? Just saying…..

Robert LiptonApril 21st, 2021 at 11:17 pm

You can eat a nice, ripe, windfallen fruit. Whereas accidents, while they can happen on both sides of the ledger, in actual usage they’re bad. We’re never right by accident,we’re right because we’re so bright.

bobbywolffApril 22nd, 2021 at 3:04 pm

Hi Robert,

You sound like an advertisement or promotion for the human condition.

No doubt your suggestion is what we all want to think about ourselves. Whether it is true or not is besides the point, but rather it tends to make us confident, never a depressing experience.