Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, December 3rd, 2021


A V Ramana RaoDecember 17th, 2021 at 11:25 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
This deal could make one philosophical. If it were a pairs event, west’s imaginative heart lead earns him an undeserving cold bottom. On a spade lead, south would win and continue making five easily but not six. Life can be grossly unfair at times

bobbywolffDecember 17th, 2021 at 4:22 pm


While your post is on point if, in fact, what I wrote about West’s opening lead being imaginative is true, perhaps it isn’t, since, as you so elegantly pointed out, it turned into disaster, particularly if this session was held at matchpoints.

With these opponents, no less, allowing an overtrick to be made it looks like folly for the defense to not lead a pointed suit instead, to which the opponents will never make more than contract, and with lesser declarer’s playing NS, even record some going set,
while playing a 5 club contract.

Perhaps the real philosophy to be learned is never, while playing tournament bridge, whether matchpoints or IMPs, (or for that matter “money bridge”), to play against better players when it involves good play by the opponents to score maximum for their side.

Perhaps good advice, but like life itself, sometimes hard to both predict and/or force to happen. Of course, tongue in cheek, but unfortunately, unfair at times is definitely true.

jim2December 17th, 2021 at 5:42 pm

Just like in yesterday’s column, 3N would have been a far easier contract.

This time, however, N-S have an excuse.

bobbywolffDecember 17th, 2021 at 7:48 pm

Hi Jim2,

Yes, a favorite partner of mine used to sing the praises of the advantages of declaring 3NT and not only the fewer tricks necessary for game, but often the advantage on opening lead of scoring up a trick not easily obtained without the opening lead being up to declarer.

However, the real game of bridge does break down the general discussion between defending trump contracts as against defending NT, often quite different

They, in nature and generally, are quite different, probably more so in variance than other aspects of declaring and, of course, defending.

No real scintillating news with that, except to say that the person(s) responsible for developing the game we all love, had to be some sort of genius.

Sad, that the creator(s) are almost certainly no longer with us on earth, to have delved deeper into what is now beginning to still being learned and experimented with, so many years later.

No doubt they would still be helpful and possibly knowledgeable enough to continue to make it even more enjoyable to bid and play even better, assuming that is possible.

Of one thing I am sure and that would generally pertain to whether or not and for ethics and the possibility of cheating is concerned, what about the thought of the four players in different rooms in order to insure honesty.

For the record, I am against that, but possibly only for traditional and societal reasons, which may be similar to, not seeing the forest for the trees.

jim2December 17th, 2021 at 9:10 pm

That is very deep and philosophical — frankly far above my pay grade. I was simply observing that South was prevented from declaring 3N on today’s deal by an East bidding 4D.

Some players will use ANY excuse!

South should have bid it anyway! Once a director is called, South simply corrects to 4N, North passes, and West leads partner’s suit. EZ-Peasey!

bobbywolffDecember 17th, 2021 at 10:41 pm

Hi Jim2,

All very well planned and very cozy., especially about your pay grade, where every person who knows you and has read your posts,will disagree with your assessment of yourself.

But today there are players (opponents) who would then call the TD and claim that partner, North, then needed to answer how many controls (aces and/or key cards)) he had to a bid which could be meant as ace-asking, eventually causing NS to wind up minus.

Reason being, NS should not get the benefit of any doubt, once making an insufficient bid, and then correcting it, but still leaving the door open for a partnership misunderstanding.

And, at least to me, an inexperienced TD or even an experienced one, may fall for
that ruse and make what many (certainly including me) might think is absurd and then rule for the plaintiff.

Since, at least in college and NFL football, the
judging body usually rules on video evidence as related to the situation, but in bridge, video is almost never needed, but superior bridge and intelligent thinking does, but what does it take
for the proper credentials from the ruling body for not only knowledge, but also for the dreaded politics which so often determines the what turns out to be, a political result.

On the above subject, I firmly believe that the ruling body needs to openly vote as well as render their reason for it and, of course sign their verifying names for all to see!

My attempt to require such things was never approved and AFAIK still not done.