Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, June 6th, 2021


ClarksburgJune 20th, 2021 at 1:01 pm

Good morning Bobby
Regarding your answer to Misinformation:
To what extent is your answer based upon the spirit of ethics and fair competition and to what extent on Bridge Law?
I would have thought that even with the card showing “sound” (or “strong” if they wrote that in) pre-empter and Partner would be free to open / pass on occasion, for whatever reason(s), as long as there was no secret agreement, nor any attempt to take advantage of unsuspecting lesser players.
I want to make sure I understand this well and live by the Law, Ethics and fair competition.

bobbywolffJune 20th, 2021 at 2:29 pm

Hi Clarksburg,

Your type question is likely to have occurred many times through the years, possibly mostly
by relative newbies being present at the table.

Many factors might be present, the most likely are relative beginners playing and filling out their convention cards, possibly one being given the task without none to little discussion between that likely relatively new partnership, together with lack of understanding of either by one or both partners to the possible effect of his (their) misleading efforts.

However, it is probably the setting of that partnership’s responsibility by guiding them to what to do, rather than the somewhat petty job of penalizing them and risking losing them or rather instead accepting them as both future bridge enthusiasts and on their way to becoming assets to the game itself.

Our answer did cut short their opponents ability to not be influenced (and thus not reach game), but perhaps whomever was responsible for not bidding (on the other side) may have been naive enough to rely too much on the interpretation of what their card markings suggested.

IOW a pass be given the possible culprits in the name of bridge future, and I, perhaps not legally, may accept the newbies result while give the opponents an average (or percentage score) rather than below one.

Perhaps not legal, but I think best done in the interest of the game itself. IOW, allowing a strike called, but doing so as an exception as long as there was no other adverse evidence on this hand or possibly others concerning this pair’s previous performance and reputation.

However, in no way am I saying that I, as a TD, would have the right to do the above, but if I did, that is what I think I would do and consider that a positive ruling, hopefully making tasty apple sauce from a rotten apple.

NOT MUCH HARM DONE from a thought to be, relatively small misfortune.

Good luck in dealing with those who disagree with the above.

Iain ClimieJune 20th, 2021 at 6:54 pm

Hi Clarksburg, Bobby,

One of the things I’ve found over the years is that weaker players can cope with being outplayed or outbid in constructive auctions while they can accept losing to better judgement after 1H (1S) 4H (4S) ? What does irritate them is messing about with obstructive bids e.g. openi g 2H routinely which should be a 6 card suit on KJ9xx and something outside; AQJ10x might be different. Rightly or wrongly they can see such antics as verging on sharp practice while ironically the stronger players, by randomising matters, May occasionally shoot themselves in the foot. I used to play a 10-12 NT at pairs with compulsory redoubles by opened after 1N X P P (start of escape or for blood) in a room where 12-14 was standard.
Once in a while we’d get a massive minus or just -200 against nothing for a bad score but it wasn’t necessary vs newbies and weaker players. We had enough skill edge not to resort to trick cycling. What worries me in hindsight is if we put players off.


Iain .

bobbywolffJune 20th, 2021 at 9:38 pm

Hi Iain,

Pretend that you do not hear nor recognize what I am about to say, but my guess is that if everyone had your progressive bridge interest and played the game the same enthusiastic way that you obviously do, our game would be even more popular than it is now or ever was.

There are others, especially on this site, who also add much to all they touch, making our group lucky to have them around, especially as close as bridge players can get.

Having said the above is indeed my pleasure, not to mention the specific enjoyment which goes with. There, I said it, possibly just to keep you and others around, so that our ratings don’t drop, as if anyone keeps score or probably, for what matters most, the real friendships developed, over such a long time.

Iain ClimieJune 20th, 2021 at 11:06 pm

Hi Bobby,

That is far too generous, especially given the excessive competitiveness I used to display, but many thanks for the kind comment. I did get some very kind feedback from Hitchin BC in Hertfordshire where i restarted playing after a 25 year break though. The English Bridge Union introduced a grading scheme called NGS and I was at one point the highest ranked player in the county; I had no illusions that I was the best although I was playing reasonably well around 2014. I was told by the club secretary after I left the area that some of the club’s better players were riding rather roughshod over newbies and improvers leading to comments that “Iain would never have behaved like that…”. Untrue (I used to) but I did realise that the need to attract new players and to ensure I was a pleasant opponent and partner were important to the club’s on going survival while I’d been made hugely welcome . My attempt (which sadly failed) to help keep a popular member alive via CPR after he’d had a heart attack one evening probably helped too although I really wouldn’t want to have to do that again.

Ultimately it is a great game but, whether you’re at the High Card Wins stage up to international or better, if you don’t enjoy the game and the company you may be missing the point. Playing at Hitchin was an absolute pleasure and I still keep in touch with the club who deserve every success for their warm welcome.