Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, August 15th, 2021


Iain ClimieAugust 29th, 2021 at 1:07 pm

Hi Bobby,

On Opening Gambit’s hand I must admit I’d be tempted by 2N but 1C could easily induce someone to bid. If it is the guy in pass out position (and we all know players who are over-zealous) the consequences could become very amusing.


Iain Climie

Bobby WolffAugust 29th, 2021 at 2:17 pm

Hi Iain,

Being in 4th seat, allows us more room to be relatively sure that we won’t be passed out, since the whole table should then be aware of partner then not expecting too much from an overcall.

However, at matchpoints, rather than IMPs or rubber bridge, I would also fall victim to open 2NT, in order to obscure my worthy opponents from their more likely ability to prevent overtricks, from the information gleaned to them.

Since those overtricks are not as important as reaching a making slam and 4-2-2-5 lends itself to a black suit, I vote for bidding out the distribution offering, in my view, a slightly better chance of scoring big.

However, others may differ and who can blame them, but, even if all pass with my 1 club opener, who can say that 3NT should make?

In any event, add playing bridge to tossing horse shoes, with competing in a game which lends itself to many very close decisions.

ClarksburgAugust 29th, 2021 at 5:29 pm

Opening Gambit’s item, and more generally undertaking the risk of being passed out, brings to mind this one from a typical local club game this week.
Matchpoints, Fav Vul white versus red, partner East deals.
East Passes. South opens 1C (alerted could be short)
You hold:
S void
C QJ975
What’s the appropriate call?

Bobby WolffAugust 29th, 2021 at 6:13 pm

Hi Clarksburg,

If 2NT (immediate overcall) shows the 2 lower unbid suits, then it is a blessing to be able to bid that.

Yes, partner will play me for more likely 5-5, but my overall playing strength is so tremendous that if partner has only a 5 card, much more 6 card red suit, he will likely need 0 HCPs to score up a red suit game.

Otherwise, while not playing the above, I would offer a simple 1 heart overcall now with the intention of bidding diamonds next. It is even possible I will finally bid clubs (natural on the 3rd round, if necessary or conceivably even on the 2nd round, if the bidding suggests such a thing (like an opponent bidding diamonds).

This hand REEKS of strength if we have a trumo fit. If not, then NO, but what’s an always
optimistic fella to do?

Strange but true, if partner somehow overcalled 1 spade, my hand diminishes greatly in value to below what might have been if he had merely passed.

YES, Mrs. Calabash, bridge can be a strange, but always fun and difficult game to play!

Hope everything (or almost) is great with you,

Iain ClimieAugust 30th, 2021 at 8:33 am

Hi Clarksburg,

What was the rest of the hand in the end and what happened?



jim2August 30th, 2021 at 11:34 am

I wrote almost the same as Our Host, but decided to drop back and wait.

Now, I am most glad I did wait, as otherwise we would not have enjoyed that wonderful Jimmy Durante reference. It dates me, I know, but I was glad when – after so many years of pundit speculation and theorizing – he finally clarified the reference.

ClarksburgAugust 30th, 2021 at 12:52 pm

@ Iain, the full deal was:
N AKQ73 109842 10 32
E J1082 65 9876432 void
S 9654 A3 Q AK10864
W void KQJ7 AKJ5 QJ975
(Note the East hand: no cards but a long red suit, as identified by Bobby as enough for game; here it is slam!).
Results (keep in mind this is a typical local Club!)
Three EW pairs got to 5D, with Wests 1D, 1H, and X over the 1C.
Three NS pairs got to not-making 4S, 5S and 5C after W started with 1D, 1D and X
One “outlier” exception…moi. As West, and feeling too clever by half, I decided to risk a pass over the 1C (could be short) . After NS proceeded 1C>1S>2S I came in with a 3S cuebid at which point I felt REALLY clever. Partner passed!! The on-line hand timed out before a card was played and we (MOST UNFAIRLY!!) escaped with a 50% no-play.

Iain ClimieAugust 30th, 2021 at 1:42 pm

Hi Clarksburg,

Thanks but how many spades did partner think we’re in the pack. He has 4, OPPO have 7 or more, probably 8 and you have a self-supporting suit (e.g. QJ109xxx) which somehow you didn’t bid on the first round! Looks like 17 to 18 as an absolute minimum.

I’m with Bobby here and would have bid 1H although 1D works slightly better. Weird hand though although I do have a regard for the trap pass. My record is passing 1H at pairs with a 2533 22 count vs Ful opposition. We can make 3N but nobody bid it so +400 was a top. I was partnering someone tolerant of such flights of fancy though.