Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, March 5th, 2022


A V Ramana RaoMarch 19th, 2022 at 4:15 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Instructive hand but perhaps an alert east should insert club Q reasoning that if south has A K J of clubs, he always gets twelve tricks with five spades, two hearts, two diamonds( diamond finesse is one hundred percent even if south is missing K) and three clubs and moreover, there is no reason why south should play clubs before drawing trumps. And if he plays Q, south is forced to win else west gets heart ruff. Now winning line would be to draw two rounds of trumps , ruff fourth diamond and play J of clubs from hand but once east plays Q of clubs, south may place both missing honors with east and may draw trumps and lead towards J of clubs which would fail today. Indeed the situation gets complicated for south if east can play Q of clubs which may not be really difficult

bobbywolffMarch 19th, 2022 at 7:18 pm


You brought up both an entertaining issue to which could easily be analyzed
and even expanded.

Yes and no doubt, plays such as East rising with the club queen could be made, but why are those types of brilliant defense so rare?

IMHO, only because it takes some thought to confidently do it, and even if East’s brain reacted immediately, but then decided not to, what would be the ethical implications, after even a slight hitch by East before merely playing low?

What if declarer had the KJ of clubs and needed to guess it right to make his contract? Would he or would he not have a legitimate complaint, when he then guessed it wrong and flew with the king, claiming his RHO made an unethical pause while not holding the ace.

Sure, on this hand, perhaps East, being an excellent lawyer, could justifiably explain, but would that win this case and, if so, should that ever be a determining factor.

Again and no doubt, you present a very valid reason for thought, but could only a human being, no matter how quick witted, think fast enough to succeed.

Finally, when good to great bridge is discussed, there is room for much to be said, but again, while in the midst of competing, there are often more things than any one brain can barely process, which, likely will contribute to just playing in tempo the card which is normally played, rather than take an ethical risk, which may in fact be levied against you.

However we now think are the answers to always play superior bridge, but there still remains an unknown factor of fear of being thought to be unethical which unfortunately is alive and not so well, within most exceptional players thoughts.

“Little by little we can do great things”,
but at the bridge table, sometimes there is an “X” factor not easily understood (at least in “warp speed”).

Thanks for bringing up the subject.

bobbywolffMarch 20th, 2022 at 1:21 pm

Hi again AVRR,

More can be said and while you are only the messenger, nothing discussed has anything to do with anything personal, but only as a deserving “get it right addict” so vital in fully discussing allowing our game to be the best it can be.

Although my age has resulted (while against my desires) to remain (and continue to) stay in the background, but not necessarily so with my thinking, but rather only my physical well being, I do hope for honest assessment with relatively new ways to improve the thinking pertaining to the vital ethics of our game (not necessarily including cheating, but rather the natural catering to the friendly group of who is close and even more so, no, to those who have become rivals (usually a larger group).

The above discourse is, at least to me, once it reaches a committee, regarded as an unpopular discussion about players capable of the rising with the queen as against ones who are not so forthright, but capable enough to later defend themselves with questionable thought later as excuses for certain behaviors.

Nothing more, not much less, but difficult to judge. However to not “rise” to make our cherished game even more beautiful, to just ignore the difficulty in doing so, would never be my choice.

In any event, these final decisions play more effectively in making those decisions before they arise, rather than squarely at the time when bias and worse will always, whether we like it or not, seek the forefront.