Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 15th, 2021


Iain ClimieJuly 29th, 2021 at 9:06 am

Hi Bobby,

If West had DJxx, the DJ would have been a superb false card here. West could then cash his hearts and bail out with a diamond, leaving declarer with an awkward guess at the end. Indeed if West had (say) Kx AKxxx Jxx Kxx (and passed 1N) then he can gleefully watch South’s hand being squeezed in front of him on the 4th and 5th diamonds after he’s cashed his hearts then exited with his 3rd diamond.



jim2July 29th, 2021 at 11:38 am

The last sentence of the column text is a pointer to an entire other discussion which Our Host had no space to explore!

The discards ahead of the hinted-at 5-card ending offer interesting challenges to declarer and defenders, alike, as both sides seek to influence declarer’s choice of finesses.

West must keep three hearts and the KC, but declarer will know that West can have at most one blacksuit king so there has been no squeeze. East either has both kings or West has kept a doubleton. West can play a deep game and bare that king in a bid to deceive, but could he really? More likely by far is that West will come down to three hearts and a doubleton black king. So, which one?

East must keep Kx of spades, but the discards risk revealing what West has done.

South must come down to black suit tenaces, of course, but might pitching the QC (coming down to A10) muddy the waters?

For most, the declarer play would be tough and tense, but not for me.

For me, the play would be easy because I know TOCM ™ would switch the kings at the key moment.

Steve ConradJuly 29th, 2021 at 1:16 pm

This is a question about something of absolutely no consequence — but it has always puzzled me. When I use suit symbols in my typesetting of bridge deals or in a bridge discussion, I write the contract as 4H and the playing card as H4 (using a suitable suit symbol).

The vast majority of people, here too, write QC for the queen of clubs and not CQ.

May I ask if anyone knows if there IS a standard or IS NOT a standard for such writing?

For everyone else, how do you distinguish between the car 4 of hearts and the contract 4 hearts?

Iain ClimieJuly 29th, 2021 at 1:40 pm

Hi Steve,

Mostly by context I think although obviously any card from the 8 upwards or reference to NT is completely clear. While we’re at it, when did “T” instead of 10 become popular in printed hand records, or hasn’t that hit you yet? I much prefer the number.

I don’t know of any standard I must admit; one thing that has stopped (or I haven’t seen for ages) is writing hands downwards instead of across the page which I recall from years back.



bobbywolffJuly 29th, 2021 at 2:35 pm

Hi Iain,

You, being one of feelings concerned players, while attempting to challenge top flight bridge, often (more than most) tenseness, therefore taking advantage of crucial subtle tells, while jousting at the table.

That, in turn, might help you, more than others,
in what bridge writers and many otherwise especially talented players consider percentages, more accurate than “table feel”.

At least to me, and in the terms of “winning more often”, I am on your side, although if the opponents happen to be top drawer, that preference realistically becomes mute, but only, and at that time, emphasizing what a sensational all encompassing game, we are dealt, a chance to play.

bobbywolffJuly 29th, 2021 at 3:03 pm

Hi Jim2,

You, and predictably nothing short of brilliantly, have summed up in easy to understand specific terms (while dealing with this hand) a play by play account of what should (and no doubt is) what goes through minds of top players, my guess, an average of about one or two hands during a normal session of high level competition.

Of course, that one or two goes to perhaps four or five if individual episodes of mentally attempting to determine either exact distributions or locations of a key card, which tend to materially effect both the defense and the declarer in their sought after good results.

However, when the competition is not equal in ability, that particular advantage in result overwhelmingly passes, making a matchpoint field a very lucky experiment to the pair dealt that advantage the most times as opposed to a more or less “team game” where both teams are well matched in both ability and experience.

And as far as your “TOCM” is concerned, how lucky you are, since when your bad result inevitably occurs, you, unlike others, never have to apologize, or worse, feel that you have let your partner and.or teammates down, assuming you still can persuade one or more to try it again.

Only kidding, since I, like you, have basically retired from playing (my excuse being age and getting around) the challenging game I love, and,of course, think that you too have retired, but only for other legitimate reasons, not related to your mysterious malady.

bobbywolffJuly 29th, 2021 at 3:21 pm

Hi Steve,

While you describe your question well, I, like methinks others, do not care much about those kinds of details.

Since bridge writing worldwide is not as important to others as world events (wars, politics, pandemics and such) at least to my knowledge, the different customs of naming cards and contracts in multiple ways hasn’t appeared crucial yet, but perhaps if bridge became a common bridge subject in all civilized country’s curriculum’s, perhaps you’ll then find your common denominator.

Instead you’ll just have to wait and see, unless you travel the world and hopefully become known as Steve Bridgeseed, which in turn will, at the very least, allow the wonders of our sensational game to become better known, and with it, a stricter and more coherent and understandable method of writing about it.