Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, May 12th, 2022


Iain ClimieMay 26th, 2022 at 10:29 am

HI Bobby (and Jim2),

I have a horrible feeling that at one particular table West might have found a relatively safe lead from SJxxx HK DJ10 CA10xxxx in which case the post mortem will not be fun despite the good case you make for playing the HA.



Iain ClimieMay 26th, 2022 at 11:25 am

Of course South could in such a case take T1 in hand cash SAK cross to dummy with the other high diamond and ditch a losing diamond but declarer’s do strange things at times…

bobbywolffMay 26th, 2022 at 1:33 pm

Hi Iain,

While then, of course, you, as declarer, are doing your required job of reconstructing opening leads, matching them up with the exact bidding and only then make a sometimes difficult choice in determining a winning line of play (assuming there is one).

However, a cunning and experienced declarer will always consider the time it took the opening leader to choose his fate, keeping in mind that most, less than world class defenders, tend to give away their reasons for thinking, without considering the slight, but key, information it may provide their competent opponents.

All the above is only part of the detective work which goes with our challenging game, but also keep in mind (for later legal principles) the incredible advantage cheating partnerships possess.

They do not have to resort to nearly as much thinking, since they have already tipped off the necessary destructive information to each other, taking with it many difficult guesses for all the other very legitimate world class players to make.

That is at least to me, a forceful reason for, if caught, they should normally, with perhaps a certain very few exceptions, be forever barred from returning.

Thanks for giving me a pulpit to discuss my reasoning in demanding as severe a punishment as can be for those awful creatures who, in fact, choose to do everything they can to destroy our off-the-charts best mind game ever conceived, in order to gain undeserved glory and in these days, also steal, in many cases, worthwhile money from sponsors and at the same time, totally destroy what others have worked so long at trying to be, as legitimately as good as our game will allow us, complete with sometimes wrong guesses, to which they, as cheats, will never have been subject to challenge.

Iain ClimieMay 26th, 2022 at 2:02 pm

Hi Bobby,

Thanks for that and a stray thought. Maybe the opening leader should be required to wait 10s before his / her first card hits the table. OK, there will still be times when they still need a fair sized think but it would slightly reduce the opportunity for UI to be passed, in the same way the pause was introduced after stop/skip bids.



bobbywolffMay 26th, 2022 at 6:49 pm

Hi Iain,

Methinks there is no practical way for our rules to preclude borderline ethical or unethical practices.

No doubt, at least to me, the answer lies within the player himself or herself, to respect the game enough to mightily try not to abuse it.

When top players compete, it is rare for the ethics to not be of top draw (although filthy cheating, to a very few, but still way too many, has been proven to exist).

Your suggestions may slightly improve things, but still at a higher cost than expected, since so many of those players have different habits and also from time to time, inconsistent manners, usually based on mood of the moment, to which they succumb.

Active Ethics, or at least a valid and valiant attempt, by all involved, perhaps is the closest to a successful ending we can hope for and come to respect.

Again, the above might be enough, if and when, we suspected and then confirmed a case of obvious partnership or isolated cheating to exist, a lifetime ban from tournament bridge then be given that crime.

Forewarned should be enough incentive to come closest to what has become obvious to adhere.

Different than how to deal with the very recent spate of mass murders (especially with children involved) since the unspeakable culprit in most all cases, is forever disposed of, leaving the rest of us, particularly the families of the victims, in total lifetime despair.

But the mere thought of comparing losing innocent people’s lives with cheating at a mere game, will go against most people’s grain, but then merely barring a bridge cheater forever from continued competing within our game (providing a hateful emotion to the game itself) is also quite less severe than ending other people’s lives.

Iain ClimieMay 27th, 2022 at 1:07 pm

Hi Bobby,

I was horrified by the recent school shooting too and I really don’t know what messes people up that way. I work in engineering risk assessment and there is increasing evidence that the recent Chinese crash involved deliberate action in the cockpit causing the aircraft to be flown straight down into the ground. Tragically, and not even mentioning Putin, there is an awful lot of insane behaviour around at the moment.

Bridge may seem unimportant at such times but, like other games and sports, perhaps it could act as a healthy outlet for nervous energy and (crucially) a form of social contact especially as those responsible for horrors often struggle with isolation – you hear “he was fairly quiet, kept himself to himself, really” when acquaintances are interviewed afterwards.



bobbywolffMay 28th, 2022 at 10:02 pm

Hi Iain,

Thanks, regarding the horrific school catastrophe, for your description. It represents the best and most realistic comments to which I’ve heard.

At least to me, the synonym which should be used to describe the so-called immediate police protection is “extreme cowardice”, however that is very easy for me to say, but for the grace of God, go, (or don’t) go I.