Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, May 1st, 2022


Bill CubleyMay 15th, 2022 at 1:17 pm


The 5NT Grand Slam Force has come up ONE time for me since 1968.
I held S AKQJ3 H AJ4 D A 5 C A73. Partner opened 1 Heart and I raised with 5NT. Finally, the gadget comes up! He lied and bid 6 Hearts. I could not construct a hand where he did not have the KQ so I finally bid 7NT.

So a quarter century long partnership picked the only way to misbid the hand.

bobbywolffMay 15th, 2022 at 2:41 pm

Hi Bill,

Methinks that yes, the GSF only comes up rarely, but when it does, (as you carefully illustrated), it becomes extremely direct, to the absolute point, thus allowing it to be a valuable tool. IMHO key card BW is not nearly as potent as some think, with several obvious faults (bidding suggesting where the king is, easier to sacrifice or not against it, better choice of opening lead, therein and in toto, rendering it at best, a questionable asset).

In the interest of more accurate science, bridge bidding has taken away the underrated advantage of bridge strategy, especially when two very good partnerships compete.

In my view, so many highly competitive competitions, including our great game, are basically decided by game strategy where superior judgment, rather than total disclosure, reign supreme. To me the winning advantage does not go percentage wise, to the most accurate science, but rather to winning random strategy within the game itself.

Furthermore while bridge science appears to be going in the right direction with heretofore former virtually meaningless forward bid choices, but virtually now becoming a major factor, may eventually result in world beating performance, but before, will necessarily wait much more time than expected, since the number of miss understandings, especially early on, become overwhelming, and/or worse, eventually be determined to help their opponents (whether to bid on or defend, choice of opening lead and early defense) more than themselves.

Yes, a major price to pay, but before that becomes anywhere close to standard practice, perhaps a concealed search for weapons should also be required, before the game starts, otherwise (somewhat in jest) we may not be focusing on heretofore bridge loving players, who decided the added science and general atmosphere of the game is just too much to risk).

In other words, KISS has been underrated, which can be translated into, contract bridge, as we know it, always at the high levels, has required total concentration and when, and if, other data is now piled on, it, by its rigor, will take away more valuable concentration previously required.

Finally, more unfinished work on the prevention and handling of worldwide bridge cheating, needs to be addressed and is more more important than the above bidding so-called scientific bridge advances.

Once and forever gone is for transgressors, at least to me, the way to go! Why should anyone be allowed to continue to play our magical game who have committed such ABUSE to it, especially when it is so very hard to first detect, then to judge, finally, if guilty then to (excuse me) deal with it.

Iain ClimieMay 15th, 2022 at 10:14 pm

Hi Bill,

What was partner’s hand and the result in the end? He could have HQ10xxxx and the minor suit KQs I suppose, but then you still have the H finesse. Worst case would be None 109xxxx KQJ KQJx I suppose.