Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, June 1st, 2022


bobbywolffJune 15th, 2022 at 1:25 pm

Hi Everyone,

Possibly not even worth mentioning, but in case of doubt by some, “tactical reasons” (in this case) specifically means, in a few cases, while not offending partner with close enough to represent 15-17, but still accurate, with adequate offensive power “decent 6 card suit, but balanced enough with no singleton and only one suit below standard, and with almost enough defensive values to pass scrutiny, in some cases, a 1NT opening, specifically, but not categorically, opposite a passed hand may be “scary enough” to the opponents to keep them from bidding a game (or even competing) which makes, that may, after all, enable an excellent result as opposed to only offering a 1 diamond opening (probably more descriptive, but certainly less intimidating).

IOW, being a tough opponent, when given the chance and, of course, when being NV vs. V would make it even more attractive in case it went all pass and partner was very weak.

Additionally and, of course, if the opponents then doubled, a simple run to 2 diamonds should, on percentage, warn off the evil spirits.

Finally, sometimes minus 150 or even 200 can be a very profitable result.

bobbywolffJune 15th, 2022 at 2:48 pm

Hi again Everyone,

Not to mention the dream sequence when playing IMPs and teammates come back to compare and one of them explains, “We were OK, except for a vulnerable game we missed”

Soon and upon arriving at board 2, they announced “this was it, +170” and you casually replied either “plus 6 or perhaps, plus 7″, when your score was either plus 90 or 120 since partner laid down while you were allowed to play 1NT: s. xx, h. Jxx, d. Kxxx, c. xxxx.

Aren’t we devils?”

Iain ClimieJune 15th, 2022 at 3:01 pm

Hi Bobby,

Interesting point made by Terence Reese many years ago about tight games (especially 3N with a long suit as here) that Aces can be critical. Change North’s hearts to Axx and he might not try for game but 3N is absolutely rock solid in that case.



bobbywolffJune 15th, 2022 at 6:58 pm

Hi Iain,

Of course you have spotted a critical factor, mainly in the evaluation of a hand’s worth.

The problem remains as it has always been, one that continues to depend on what is needed, eg, the contract trick, sometimes, only as a stopper, instead only, one trump, but the one it takes not to lose control (offensive or defensive) and, again of course, whether the trumps divided evenly or not, etc.

How is it possible to rely on high card points, stoppers, quick tricks, or the general topic of togetherness of honors, when the needs of both the declarer and the defense sometimes become so different.

It isn’t, but between Culbertson and Goren (not to mention Milton Work nor Harold Vanderbilt) a random middle ground has allowed and basically encouraged many of us, to give it a try, since the game itself is so fascinating and challenging plus, and again, of course, so mentally difficult to master, leaving us grasping for breath to just learn enough to be decent with playing through it.

In years to come, let us hope that Contract Bridge not only remains, but instead flourishes, but one sure thing, at least IMO, NO ONE will ever, regardless of how hard he or she tries, come even close to mastering it.