Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 21st, 2022


Steve ConradMay 5th, 2022 at 9:49 am

Hi Bobby,

When I was young (OMG, so long ago!), I knew Richard Schwartz fairly well, since we traveled in the same bridge circles. In the column posted yesterday, you called him “Ritchie.” I had never seen his name spelled with a “t” in the middle. Is this something I missed or something new or . . . ?


Iain ClimieMay 5th, 2022 at 9:55 am

Hi Bobby,

Should West consider playing the CA at T2 and ploughing on with diamonds, although that could misfire if South had (say) CKQxx? The quote today also reminded me of Douglas Adams’ “The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy” where an extremely madcap character (Zaphod) uses Proudhon’s comment to claim that property is theft, therefore theft is property so if I steal this (spaceship) it’s mine, and promptly does so. Very silly but a lot of fun.



A V Ramana RaoMay 5th, 2022 at 10:57 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
When east won the club trick with Q, it must be clear to west that south cannot hold club K as his club play doesn’t make sense. West should have discarded club A on last heart which must be quite patent by now.

Iain ClimieMay 5th, 2022 at 1:00 pm


South might just have K108x(x) or similar in clubs but small to the J is a very, very odd way to attack the suit in that case. A good piece of poker by South but West should not have fallen for it although it is always easier when not at the table, though.



A V Ramana RaoMay 5th, 2022 at 1:53 pm

Hi lain
If south has K 10 x x , more the reason to play the suit from dummy. Why should south concede two tricks if Q happens to be in finesse? And more so, at that point, south doesn’t know that diamonds are 5-2. They could be as well 4-3 . Only thing he can be sure is that West almost certainly holds spade Q. If he held K 10 x x of clubs playing clubs like he did would be blowing away the contract.

bobbywolffMay 5th, 2022 at 2:24 pm

Hi Steve,

There is little doubt to me that Richard Schwartz’s pronounced nickname was, as you say it was, Richie instead of Ritchie.

I, also knew and both played with him as a teammate and many times against him
as an opponent, but never addressed him as anyone but Richie.

However, sometimes unfortunate mistakes like this do happen, especially when there are usually several proofreads before publishing and no one of us was either shrewd nor knowing enough, to correct it.

Thanks for your necessary eagle eye which spotted the error and let’s hope that the damage by doing so did not stain nor tarnish his reputation as a very interesting and able bridge character.

bobbywolffMay 5th, 2022 at 2:46 pm

Hi Iain & AVRR

Yes, I too, was drawn to our quote of the day, which no doubt pauses and then causes, a few moments to consider.

And regarding today’s ruse and among high-level players, I have believed for many years that, especially for consideration by the declarer, that the various methods to pull off such a theft are so varied that it, when all else looks extremely unlikely to succeed, especially when playing against strong opposition, that it is not then chosen nearly enough.

It comes up in many ways, some indeed very strange (such as declarer being first to play his weakest combined suit), but even outstanding opponents seek to expect declarer to do the opposite, thereby setting themselves up to be, to say the least, tricked into incorrectly defending and, better yet, not leave your bridge table in the best frame of mind.

Perhaps adding to the well quoted phrase, “alls fair in love, war, and bridge”.
except of course CHEATING.

Iain ClimieMay 5th, 2022 at 2:46 pm


That’s the point I was getting at; the only possible reason for playing the suit like that would be if declarer had seen CQxx in West’s hand when holding K108x(x) or similar when a club to the J could see West later strip squeezed if he was unwise enough to duck.



bobbywolffMay 5th, 2022 at 9:53 pm

Hi Iain,

Also, and yes, in regard to bold face deception while at the bridge table, sometimes there are even additional advantages to going for the proverbial throat with gaining the reputation for being unpredictable in all three main areas of our treasured game, bidding, and both declarer and, of course, on defense.

Its always fun (but definitely not so, for one’s bewildered adversaries) to be bridge playing solid citizens, but have one’s foes blatantly err, thinking you might be doing something strange.

“And the beat goes on”, but reminding the opponents how lucky, rather than clever, you always seem to be, will be a sure way
to successfully finish them off.