Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, April 28th, 2021


Iain ClimieMay 12th, 2021 at 3:35 pm

Hi Bobby,

Not so sure about BWTA today but feel free to shoot me down. I’m bidding 1S and if pars bids 2C I’ll just bid 2H for the moment. If he then bids 2S we’re in business, other advances are also promising. Over 2D the hands are starting to gel and I’m bidding 3H now while a spade raise immediately from partner also looks good. If partner rebids 1N then 2H should be sufficient opposite a weak NT.

Accusations that I just want to play the hand may naturally be justified. If the spades were much weaker or I just had 4 I’d feel differently but good suit, good support and the ruffing value in clubs make me feel this is 2 and a half hearts at least although the DQ could be wasted.



Mircea GiurgeuMay 12th, 2021 at 6:53 pm

Hi Bobby,

I’m trying to understand how the (true) expert thinks about a problem like this at the table. It’s obvious that you have to play the trump suit for now losers, but how do you come to the conclusion that the best chance is to finesse West for the queen? I put this suit combination in a computer program that I have and it confirmed that indeed this is the best route, with a rate of success of around 38%. One cannot possibly know all suit combinations so it is some sort of ‘gut feeling’?

bobbywolffMay 12th, 2021 at 10:41 pm

Hi Iain,

When some one about 70 years ago, while playing bridge in the USA was estimated to have about 40 million players (my guess a significantly fewer now, but, at least in the tournament world, the bridge played at the top is significantly better now than then) and 5 card majors replaced 4, as both a cosmetic change and also one to cater to a large group of people who preferred safety of suit, rather than the playing value of faster arrival and mystery of holding from the opponents (as well, of course, partner).

My take then and all those decades later, (I began at about 10 years old) that 4 card majors, with their pluses and minuses, produced overall better results, when all relevant factors became known.

However, back at your ranch of question about today’s BWTA, I think, everything considered, that the bidding in the column today, is slightly more accurate than your suggestion, since whenever an eight card fit in a major (when playing 5 card majors) is available, the sooner that is communicated, the better partner’s bidding becomes.

Sure, your 1 spade bid is OK, perhaps even best, but at this point (sometimes 4th chair then muddies the water by chirping something other than pass) by telling partner what is likely to be trump for our side immediately makes more sense than bidding around the mulberry bush, therefore keeping your OX (fondly another name for the person opposite) from being able to better valuate what to do later.

Yes 2 hearts is a slight underbid, but less a distortion than would be a 3 heart limit raise.

The above is “Much Ado About Nothing” or at the least, not much.

If you are still with me, if I was your partner and we were playing 4 card majors I would also then first bid 1 spade and all future bids, including heart bids by me, would usually, but not close to almost always, show three.

Finally, I think the column handling is correct today (with 5 card majors, so popular) but it comes close to deciding between chocolate and strawberry, which too often in the good old USA, becomes the only given, being a 5 card major start.

Yes, I’ve avoided going into all the reasons, but I have another appointment next month and need to finish this post before then.

Thanks for listening to all this gibberish, but my guess is that you can read my mind as well as anyone I know, so I’ll leave it at that.

bobbywolffMay 12th, 2021 at 10:47 pm

Hi Mircea,

Simply put, when considering the entire hand, it becomes best to play West for the queen of diamonds, therefore, when then that factor is considered, the rest falls into place as to card for card, declaring this contract.

And again, please do not ask me to prove the above statement, especially since your research, validated the above.

Thanks for getting involved and never hesitate to ask any bridge question which concerns you and I’ll do my best to give you my thoughts, although proving it, may be just too difficult.