Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, August 23rd, 2021


Iain ClimieSeptember 6th, 2021 at 11:01 am

Hi Bobby,

Very interesting hand but I wonder how many players (even top ones) would think of ducking the CA at the table; hindsight is of course a wonderful thing. On LWTA, you didn’t mention a spade lead especially if the opponents are playing non-promisory Stayman. Of course if you lead the SQ then dummy has K109x opposite declarer’s Ax(x) while if you lead a heart partner has SK10xx or similar. Even in the latter case, though, partner won;t get in unless dummy has xxxx opposite declarer’s Ax. I’ll take your advice albeit uncomfortably!



Bill CubleySeptember 6th, 2021 at 1:57 pm

Well played! Let the opponents win a trick while you make the hand. I think I would also duck the lead as that is against my normal line of play thoughts which are often wrong.

Sadly today I would be driving home from the cancelled Atlanta Regional. Somehow I do not feel better because I “saved” money by not playing with GM Shannon. I miss tournaments, bad coffee, cheap hot dogs, the Hospitality Suites.

Happy New Year to you and Judy.

bobbywolffSeptember 6th, 2021 at 2:11 pm

Hi Iain,

No doubt uncomfortable is the right word. And worse, makes getting off to the right lead so damn difficult, causing anxiety among all opening leaders, while sadly, helping cause other weak characters, to choose to become, dirty filthy cheaters.

My guess is that most partnerships, when using Stayman, will possess at least one four card major, so that if partner then bids hearts, will then after opener returns to NT, will belatedly correct to spades.

However, as we all know, a spade lead, regardless of the bidding, can still work out well anyway, usually totally dependent on partner’s spade spots, as long as he has four of them.

Making the oft mentioned statement about an average player, always making the most effective opening lead, will win all World Bridge championships.

Finally, I also agree with you about on the column hand, many of us might first win the ace of clubs, then after due consideration wish we had not, making good declarer habits of proper thought before playing to trick one, valuable advice.

As usual, thank you for your always helpful, topical advice.

bobbywolffSeptember 6th, 2021 at 2:24 pm

Hi Bill,

Thanks for your updates and well wishes.

We miss your always pleasant contributions to our banter and your always truthful (in jest) but mostly having to deal with the real life of a devoted bridge addict. Aren’t we all?

One day and we all hope soon, yesterday’s order will be properly restored in our cherished bridge life. Sorrowfully, that date may not yet have been confirmed.

Iain ClimieSeptember 6th, 2021 at 2:28 pm

Hi Bobby,

One odd thought about cheats – their methods (at bridge or elsewhere) are often absurdly inept e.g. the number of fingers showing, the angle at which a card is played, foot tapping, the coughing doctors and so on at bridge. Elsewhere look up “Bloodgate” in the UK (Rugby Union), Boris Onsischenko’s rigged fencing blade (modern penthathlon, Munich 1972) and even the ex British Army Major in the quiz “who wants to be a millionaire” where an accomplice in the audience coughed at key moments. Mind you, professional fouls (trips) and shirt-tugging at football (soccer) seem to be the norm while cricket has had its incidents – see the sandpaper scandal by 3 Australians and various betting scams with some Pakistani players banned even though Islam forbids gambling. Horse markings have been disguised with boot polish to put in a ringer and the list just goes on and on; allegedly crooked dice have been found in tombs dating back thousands of years. I was even told (by one England bridge player) not to play another one at backgammon unless I checked every move – he was a dab hand at “accidentally” moving rather more than he’d thrown.



Iain ClimieSeptember 6th, 2021 at 2:58 pm

Try this too:,,516244,00.html


Petrer SagerSeptember 6th, 2021 at 3:41 pm

Hi Bobby,
What happens if East switches to a low heart at trick two after the club duck? Can South still make the hand?

Peter SagerSeptember 6th, 2021 at 3:44 pm

What happens if East switches to a low heart after the club duck? Can the hand still be made?

Peter SagerSeptember 6th, 2021 at 3:48 pm

Hi Bobby,
What happens if East switches to a low heart at trick 2 after the club duck? Can the hand still be made?

bobbywolffSeptember 6th, 2021 at 5:18 pm

Hi Iain,

And your significant list is probably, if anything, an underbid.

The only thing which sets bridge apart from, shall we say deceptive business, social, community group mores, and other criminality, is that our game is so dependent on not, therein dealing with those mental featherweights therein, virtually no penalty for so doing, can be classified as severe enough since, for practical purposes, only a theft of “ego” or pretending that one, is definitely not!

And when one adds the lack of bridge knowledge by ones chosen to decide their fate, it becomes quite unbearable for the many who are directly and tremendously adversely affected.

When others request leniency it often makes me think it is likely that they have either been tempted and almost done so, or have never viewed bridge as important enough (as the world’s best ever mind game). Finally when and if, a judge even begins to understand such
treachery, dealing with established crucial subjects, such as occupations (like so many physical sports nowadays) how can anyone underestimate the harm which is done, all because no other viable substitute measures, short of draconian, are suitable, for changing the rules, to seek 100% prevention.

Sure physical wars will produce more disastrous results, but not necessarily so to those who have learned to love our sensational game.

Iain ClimieSeptember 6th, 2021 at 6:02 pm

Hi Bobby,

Thanks for that, and allso being kind enough not to mention I was an Olympics out (B.O. was caught at Montreal in 1976, I think after a British guy spotted something odd; he did win a silver in 1972 though). Was it greed for gold that caused his downfall or had he been at it before?


bobbywolffSeptember 6th, 2021 at 7:29 pm

Hi Iain,

I admit not recognizing the sport (possibly bridge) you are referring to in 1972 and 1976, There was a bridge Olympiad in 1972 (Miami) and my team lost to Italy in the finals, but at that time I, for whatever reason, didn’t have that great an interest in the World Olympics.

Please refresh my decaying mind and to whom B.O. was (is).

Jeff SSeptember 6th, 2021 at 8:25 pm

Hi Bobby,

I couldn’t read the article Iain posted as the Guardian insisted it was not a live link (my loss, I am certain), but a quick search of Montreal Olympics cheating brought up one Boris Onishchenko, a Russian Olympian who was caught cheating in the fencing portion of the Pentathlon even though, according to the article I read, he was an excellent swordsman.

bobbywolffSeptember 6th, 2021 at 9:55 pm

Hi Jeff S.

Thanks for your search and find.

Cheating in bridge has been done by basic beginners all the way up to World Champions.

A not so fine kettle of fish exemplifying everything horrible, especially character.

Time to move on from all, who, while trying to overcome inferiority, only need to gaze at the
mirror. Fencing? Really, I can feel the prick!