Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

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


Iain ClimieJuly 21st, 2021 at 1:36 pm

Hi Bobby,

S J Simon describes Mr. Smug in Why You Lose at Bridge misplaying a hand and making mistake after mistake befroe going off in a cold contract. When the Ace of the suit led appears in dummy, Smug calls for it to be played before looking at the whole hand. SJS said that he couldnt construct a hand which (as well as all the other traps) punished rushing in with the Ace at T1. He’d have appreciated this one I suspect.



Bobby WolffJuly 21st, 2021 at 3:50 pm

Hi Iain,

“To the victor go the spoils”, furthermore that cherished victor usually is the one who, at least while playing bridge, takes the time to use his noggin’ instead of only following blind tradition.

Sure, holding an ace opposite a singleton at least 95%+ of the time, when a trump suit is named instead of NT, the proper play is the ace
to be almost automatic.

However, within our great game, there are many anomalies worth describing as similar to “monkeys are the craziest people”, allowing expansion in thinking straight.

So much is learned (I should say discovered) when one begins to accept playing good bridge as challenging, interesting, and above all, worth participating.

Truly a shame that the playing of bridge and therefore its principles are not present in our primary and secondary school system with the powers that be, beginning with the ACBL in America not giving it a ghost of a chance to be included, by not prodding our government with its obvious mental advantages on how to think (especially helping with numbers, arithmetic, but also a huge dose of life’s logic).

When, as President of the WBF, and visiting China in 1993, I mentioned the value of such an enterprise, to which they (after only about a 20 minute caucus) totally agreed and accomplished it to the tune of many millions of students now benefiting and greater still, extolling our sensational game’s virtues.

Today’s hand represented some of the above, allowing me to go back to memory lane, but although you were right there in understanding how unusual, but totally necessary, that incredible duck became, it still induced thoughts to me, how our failure to also get bridge in USA schools (Europe is full of countries that now also teach it) has hurt my native country as well, and of course, the game itself and its popularity.

However, thanks much, as you so often do, for your on target discourse involving, at least to me, just one of the beauties, our game has to offer.

Bruce karlsonJuly 21st, 2021 at 6:31 pm

Even as a barely silver club player, when Sonny is looking over my shoulder I always fear that I’m going to lose control of Trump and with it the contract. And that a club ruff will only be available to someone else. Absent counting 10 tricks, methinks it should be standard to keep the ace ad a guard if nothing else.

Bobby WolffJuly 21st, 2021 at 7:02 pm

Hi Bruce, (the barely silver club one)

Yes, losing control of trump (capital T or not) is often a factor (or at least a worry) when declarer and dummy possess only seven trump (4-3 especially).

However, today’s problem is somewhat unique and without previous warning, could be misplayed without much, if any, notice. Therefore others to the rescue, and even if the opportunity almost never occurs, the concept may linger, enough so, that when and if it does appear, a well-read declarer will be the savior.

BTW, AOB doesn’t hear from you as much as they want, so hope that other commitments will slow, enabling you to add your always worthwhile countenance.

Bruce karlsonJuly 21st, 2021 at 9:53 pm

You are kind, as usual. I do read every day the comments and I’m always impressed with the analysis, particularly that which would have evaded me. I usually do not think I can add to the erudite analysis.