Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, June 29th, 2021


Iain ClimieJuly 13th, 2021 at 9:11 am

Hi Bobby,

In BWTA, once upon a time in the good (or often not-so-good) old days, this hand could bid 2D naturally rather than new minor forcing. The benefits of the modern approach doubtless outweigh such a simpler life (in terms of frequency and quantity of gain) but once in a while we can pine for simpler, easier days. This might find a diamond fit opposite say 1-3-4-5 or 2-3-4-4 with much better clubs, a good spade fit if partner has 3-4-4-4 although 2S works anyway and partner might be spolit for choice with 2-2-4-5 when 2S is better at pairs and 2D at teams.

Rose tinting the past doesn’t always help, though. Look up Churchill’s ferocious retort to an Admiral who accused him in the early 20th century of violating British naval traditions.



bobbywolffJuly 13th, 2021 at 10:22 am

Hi Iain,

While rose tinting the past, or any other description is certainly only in the eyes of the doer, the QJ109 combination might be enough to override a lesser solidity of suit. Yes, the greater the player, the better his or her judgment, but having that combination of trump cards becomes real, often avoids medium bad luck during the play and, by being named trump, secures its place.

However, your descriptive persuasion needs to be noted and, of course, perhaps will win the day, especially so when there is no chance of Churchill’s famed temper to flare, assuming no one brought a long ago found recorder.

But when and if Mrs. Guggenheim is declarer, her partner and/or teammates would certainly wish the 8 was also included, if for no other reason than to insure at least 3 tricks are scored.

bobbywolffJuly 13th, 2021 at 10:38 am

Hi again Iain,

And if Winnie was present (in the distant past) and instead of the British Navy was the French, my guess would be that he would suggest that one of their sailors decided to sleep on his stomach when he heard that one of their enemies had taken to bomb naval bases.

Robert LiptonJuly 13th, 2021 at 10:50 am

Iain’s nostalgia is understandable. Every time I pick up a massive two-suiter, I think longingly of the days of Strong Twos. Yes, I know the argument: weak twos come up a lot more often, especially when partner is happy to open 2H vulnerable with Q9xxxx and out. Somehow, it’s my fault when my heart opening lead gives them the contract.

Bob Lipton

Iain ClimieJuly 13th, 2021 at 12:10 pm

Hi Robert,

I used to play Benjaminised (Benji) ACOL where 2C could be any strong 2, 2D would be the game force (or you could reverse them) and 2H / 2S were weak. The late, charming and much missed England player Michelle Brunner (who played for the open team) once said when young to Albert Benjamin that she played this. The reply from the system’s inventor was that she shouldn’t bother with that nonsense but play 3 weak twos instead. Benji is still popular in the UK though, especially at club level.

I know what you mean about leads though as RHO often has KJx when you start from Ax in partner’s suit. Discipline is a great thing but frequently lacking.



Joe1July 14th, 2021 at 12:40 am

“Q,J, and 10 are more important than A and K in suit play”.
interesting. Could you add more insight or example for club players? I like 10s and Js as much as anyone ( except for the Hideous Hog) but generally prefer to be dealt As and Ks.

Thank you

Robert LiptonJuly 14th, 2021 at 12:45 am

I like to have all of them, Joe, especially at rubber bridge!

Bob Lipton

Iain ClimieJuly 14th, 2021 at 9:19 am

Hi Joe 1,

Try a trump suit of Kxxxx opposite 9xx compared to QJ109x opposite 8xx. The latter guarantees three tricks in the suit no matter what; the former might find AQJx offside (or even onside) when there are 3 losers while even AQ10 or similar sitting over the K reduces the likely tricks available to 2.