Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, May 28th, 2022


bobbywolffJune 11th, 2022 at 3:16 pm

Hi Everyone,

While in no way am I even thinking of overt behavior, much less accusing anyone, of cheating in online games, nor have I any reason to discuss the bridge involved with today’s hand, and although I am not privy to knowing (especially well), any of the participating players, the above hand would be a classic candidate. Especially for the EW victims, to feel like “it could have happened”.

Making our greatest of all mind games subject to a ruinous emotion, which, taken at the flood, will haunt the online game forever.

Likely in this case, it was all 100% legitimate, but (leading to my post) it is just another valid reason to, if known cheating continues to lurk in our beloved game, the involved culprits need to be forever barred, an apparent condition, many of our respected majority, DO NOT share.

Look what happens here, and will continue to occur, anytime even a partially suspect hand appears.

To not do the above duty, while protecting our game against slander and hate (not to mention validity), is there any way to do anything other than forever bar individuals convicted of that despicable crime?

I don’t think so, and without such a “stiff” penalty, how do we thoughtfully proceed in overcoming the very few who have either been caught in the web, confessed, or otherwise been known to be guilty.

Yes, IMO, World Championships (many of them) have been won by overt cheaters, and that alone, causes me
to opine banishment for proven guilt as well as so many other lawful players who fear that it has happened to them, but our organization has not done enough to make both being caught as painful to the culprits and unbelievably harmful to the game itself as it should have been.

Causing tempted players to think it over, before they choose that nothing less than despicable CRIME, (in every way), which to them, might be thought to be an opportunity to gain respect, not to mention,, sometimes sponsor money and other future unjust prizes and fame.

Jeff SJune 11th, 2022 at 5:22 pm

The law of vacant places is interesting. In practice today, it meant that West was forced to choose four discards while East was forced to follow along and thus be left with whatever final four cards were dealt to him. At the end of it, both have four cards left. West presumably let go of the 9C, then the known queen and finally the jack. But…does this mean the doesn’t have the 10C or that he is instead trying to act like a man who doesn’t have the 10C?

It gets very mind-bending. South knows HE doesn’t hold the 10 so if West doesn’t have it, his discard makes no sense unless he is protecting the JD and hoping his partner has clubs blocked. But if he does hold the 10, maybe he is hoping his partner has the JD and South still has a guess to make, thus letting go of the 9C early to try to mislead South.

And as a good player, West can easily see where things are going so I doubt he is going to give anything away. Good job by South as it seems like it would have been easy to get lost in a house of mirrors.

bobbywolffJune 11th, 2022 at 6:32 pm

Hi Jeff S,

Perhaps Jeff should instead be your middle name, with Detective your first.

All the above, plus the 95%+ information gleaned by the defenders after listening to the bidding and having seen both the play up to then, and, of course, the time it takes, complete with hitches and consternation,

The possession of only one partner, but two determined opponents (even only rooting as dummy), merely adds to the tension, but the defense should never forget their responsibility to defend cleverly, but never divert to shady, even somewhat unethical practices such as unnecessary huddles for no legitimate reason, nor, and, of course, any gesture or emphasis, with the intention of giving partner, but not the declarer, information he might need.

Of course, at certain high levels, the timing and order of discards should be kept in mind, since (my opinion) in the majority of cases, both defenders, fairly early in the hand, will know declarer’s problems (if there are any) and thus, if possible, try to lead him astray.

Finally instead of referring to a “house of mirrors” perhaps just instead substitute nerve racking since yes, bridge is only a game, but while fiercely competing, it tends to feel like life or death or perhaps even that, is a slight understatement.

Finally counting, counting and more counting is almost always the order of the day.