Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 16th, 2021


Iain ClimieJuly 30th, 2021 at 9:42 am

Hi Bobby,

East may have cunningly concealed the C2 in the 2nd room but couldn’t declarer have picked up from West’s carding what was happening? Presumably West led the C3 then followed with the 8 but would he have done that with J832. Impressive card-reading by Brogeland in any case, though.



jim2July 30th, 2021 at 12:31 pm

What would a 3C bid by South have meant instead of 2S?

(I always get confused when partners volley cuebids)

bobbywolffJuly 30th, 2021 at 3:54 pm

Hi Iain,

Of course when the subject becomes deception by either side, declarer or defense, the subject switches to “being at the table”, having everything to do with physical, rather than “percentage” or “natural” possible falsecards.

At least to me, when strength encounters strength, smooth handling, having nothing to do with ethics, but always on the upside, such as never hesitating when holding only one, preside. Of course, the perpetrator is already (on defense, before his partner, such as this hand, leads to trick two, after winning the king) knows what to do and perfectly in tempo.

Why, and what makes one think, a wise questioner may ask? Simply because the opening leader (in this case) already, after devouring the bidding and totally into this hand (perhaps like air-traffic controllers need to be) already, mainly because of his or hers, somewhat sadly, mostly male, vast experience (always necessary to seek one’s level).

That feature (or call it talent) comes with the territory of “been there, done that” and my guess is that your natural talent and wide experience would enable you to be right on with both sides of that challenge, particularly so when both partnerships have played (or read) much about the other.

Finally, it could happen either during a World Championship where the best players sometimes square off or even at a club duplicate where the players are not nearly as experienced or adept, but rather used to competing against each other and is a sign of respect, even though many will never practice such a behavior simply because they are unaware of even its existence.

Thanks for asking, since all players need to be conscious of specific habits, indigenous to what could be called the expert game, and no doubt being in your quiver for more years than you can count, but possibly think correctly, that it is almost never discussed.

bobbywolffJuly 30th, 2021 at 4:42 pm

Hi Jim2,

Although a subject like you bring up is also (similar to my reply to Iain) rarely discussed, at least my take to the answer is that a return cue bid would show a significantly stronger hand (in addition to its main purpose of showing playable suits rather than an indication of general strength).

IOW, both choices, are known (by partner’s original cue bid) to be at least middling (possible game, in strength, with the original cue bidder, in response to partner’s TO double promising another bid after partner has responded unless an opponent has then continued his competition beyond the support the TO doubler can offer. IOW, if I held: s. AQ10x, h. xx, d. J10xxx c. xx and it went 1 club by my LHO, double by partner, pass by RHO I would chirp 1 spade, but then if either LHO or RHO competed to 2 hearts (with partner passing at his turn) I would then compete (especially at matchpoints but also at IMPs) with 2 spades, not 3 diamonds (a level higher) since partner may still have 4 spades but a minimum double) and a then bid of diamonds would, at least IMO would rather be a level lower than show my other suit (and too much of the time would then show a preference back to spades by my minimum doubler partner)

IOW, the sole type of hand which denies that above, making it an obligation rather than a choice would then rather abruptly allow a cue bid answer to a double with as little as: s. Axxx, h. Kxxx, d. xxx, c. xx.

Thus, best bidding methods have determined that a simple 1 spade by me would be my answer to that cue bid, risking, if it goes all pass, in playing a 4-3 fit rather than a 4-4, but my choice of 1 spade is such that if my LHO then competes in NT or a minor suit than I, at my turn can then bid 2 hearts, awaiting my partner’s preference at the lowest level possible.

Good question by you (as usual) since it is indeed one which comes up reasonably often (in one manner or another) and, if so, the higher ranking same length suit even (Jxxxx, h. xxxxx, d. Qx, c. x (with or without the diamond queen) would get me to chirp spades first and then hearts next, if need be.

Summing up, a cue bid in response to partner’s TO double does promise reasonable strength in addition to often needing a choice of suit, although the cue bid could be even: s. AJ10xx, h. Kx, d. Axxxx, c. x, on rare occasions although it, of course would be aiming at a spade contract at least in game with a possible slam (possibly in diamonds as well).

Briefly the answer, a cue bid in response to a double gives up being in the wrong contract if it then goes all pass, but in most, if not all other sequences, becomes beneficial in finding the right contract, rather than to guess as to the necessary strength of the cue bidder.

The above is not perfect, but I think, similarly to other conundrums in bridge bidding, clearly the right percentage action.