Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, December 13th, 2021


Iain ClimieDecember 27th, 2021 at 5:56 pm

Hi Bobby,

North’s hand is a useful if obvious reminder that it is “points, schmointz” when you have long suits of sufficient solidity, at least provided you have enough controls. For a really spectacular example, look up the Duke of Cumberland hand (from whist days but also used in Ian Fleming’s Moonraker – the book, not the film) where the Duke holds AKQJ AKQJ AK KJ9 and is bet that the opponents can’t make all 13 tricks with clubs as trumps (or 7C is bid and redoubled by James Bond). You’re doubtless familiar with the hand but others may care to look it up. As a hint, the hand over you has 8D to the Q10, AQ10xx of clubs while dummy has no diamonds and the other 5 clubs.



Iain ClimieDecember 27th, 2021 at 6:00 pm

PS As my Dad was Scots and “Butcher” Cumberland gave the order to hunt down and kill Jacobite survivors after the battle of Culloden, I reckon he had it coming. The 9D is known as “The Curse of Scotland” as the order for the slaughter was supposedly written on it by the Duke.

bobbywolffDecember 27th, 2021 at 8:54 pm

Hi Iain,

The “points schmointz” phrase, while thought to be a direct indictment of the relative value of higher cards, instead, at least to me, only questions the real value of high cards, when opposite certain other high cards and, of course, distribution, relegating them to huge amounts of luck, only decided by the way they floated by being dealt to one hand or the other.

Much less science involved, but still a different, but not necessarily, better indication of their average value than other means, to which Ely Culbertson referred, honor count.

While the band plays on, every live hand seems to take on a hue of its own with
bridge columns and books at least attempting to make some sense out of its consistency.

I had always heard of the diamond 9 being the “Curse of Scotland” but now you have told me what, perhaps a helpful ticket to a game in heaven I am looking forward to, first, being invited, second among my friends rather than enemies, and most important and to my judgment, favorably placed.

Rounding it off, if all the people who have posted on this site are present, I would indeed be in seventh heaven, a term I never knew really existed until now.

Thank you for the mostly British history lesson and taking the time and effort to explain it.

Joe1December 28th, 2021 at 2:16 am


A few different theories on the origin

Happy holidays to all!