Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, March 31st, 2022


jim2April 14th, 2022 at 7:47 pm

I would note that North’s 4H in the column hand is not the overbid that it might first appear because he was a passed hand.

As for BWTA, South is NOT a passed hand, and this makes the difference. Personally, I would choose between the underbid of 3S and the slight overbid of 2D, with the latter my preference. 1) I am happy to create a force. 2) Partner is unlikely to find a rebid that causes me a problem. 3) It gets my suit into play such that a later jump in spades should suggest this general pattern.

That our suit is spades makes matters much simpler than if the majors were reversed.

Mircea GiurgeuApril 14th, 2022 at 8:36 pm

If East does not split the honors, declarer can play the 10 and the result is the same (I think). I’m not saying that this is the obvious play but declarer has nothing to lose

Iain ClimieApril 14th, 2022 at 10:12 pm

Hi Mircea,

Depends if East has the cojones to duck the Ace smoothly when the singletons is led off the table. I once did that with Ax in H when declared had shown length there but wound up in S and the results were effective if maybe lucky I kibitzed an England Scotland match in 1979 (!) where such a situation arose with Hugh Kelsey as East. The commentator said “East is a great writer of bridge books and would doubtless say that ducking the Ace often works. No, he’s gone up with it.” So much easier a2ay from the table and with time to think which is why fast platters are often tricky opponents I remember playing against Zia once – impeccable manners, ethical and charming but utterly intimidating by his speed of play.



Iain ClimieApril 14th, 2022 at 10:18 pm

That’s if E has the A of course. I love this column but occasionally I pine for only 26 cards being visible. Still, you can always cover up the EW cards!

bobbywolffApril 14th, 2022 at 10:36 pm

Hi Jim2,

While I definitely concur to all of your deft exercises with value judgment I do fully value preemption, even when playing against original passed hands, when developing a consistent system of choices involved with showing trump fits.

Reason being are two fold: 1. When our side has a fit, it is more likely that so do the opponents (more cards to hold to balance out, of course, with a fewer number of our combined number, in this case, spades). 2. Allowing good opponents a more frequent entry to justifiably compete and also, if eventually defending, to secure a better lead.

Because of the above, thinking close system choices, should be, especially when finding that hoped for trump fit, to get the bidding as high as possible to do what one can to seek additional advantage.

Again, as usual, tailoring a choice of bidding plan to exaggerate its effectiveness. No doubt a tiny plus, but, in the long run, and often not noticed by either side, those types of partnership seem to get luckier than others.

However, don’t ever forget to what many partnerships fall victim, trying to remember small changes, but totally necessary for both partners to specifically remember (not only what bid was made, but also what alternate choice or choices were not).

My guess is that one key forget is more costly than four or five times successful, is profitable.

All the above is only my slight preference for not bidding 2 diamonds (forcing though it may be) instead of a more preemptive effort of that very close choice of 3NT or a specific jump in spades, neither of which, can be thought, at least by me, as not to be considered.

However, and from both sides of the partnership, either being somewhat not sure of the meaning, is enough to not be playing that convention, or any other one listed on ANY phase of the game, but still, somewhat vague.

At least to me, the above concern should always be paramount, rising far above, the delicate choice of close to equal value.

bobbywolffApril 14th, 2022 at 10:55 pm

Hi Mircea,

I disagree that North may have nothing to lose, and, believe it or not, if East while holding the AQJ might (and that is always a big IF) or even just the AQ or AJ might play even the queen or jack, assuming the declarer, if instead the ace is taken, may be able to get his trick back, since declarer may be able to throw an eventual loser away.

“Yes young defender, sometimes there is more to this game than originally meets the eye”.

Even a very good declarer may miss guess more situations than others may think, likely more so when it becomes fairly standard in the above case for the defender to win his ace if he possessed it.

jim2April 14th, 2022 at 10:59 pm

Fair enough, but the risk of preemption is why I said that our suit being spades made it so much simpler.

bobbywolffApril 14th, 2022 at 11:05 pm

Hi Iain,

I realize that once while Rome was burning, , Nero was fiddling, this time I was writing to Mircea while you were posting.

In any event I echoed, without examples, which you inferred.

Yes, I also wish for being able to only show 26 cards, so then I can charge the newspapers double, with not much more difficulty, to show the other 26.