Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, June 9th, 2022


Iain ClimieJune 23rd, 2022 at 9:16 am

HI Bobby,

If the EW hands are reversed, as you say, a Lightner double could beat the slam but what if NS then run to 7H. It doesn’t work today, of course, but from East’s viewpoint (with hands switched) 7H might be making (South might have CAQ) and he might talk himself out of the double. West then has an ethical problem if East has a think; he might be considering an out of the blue 7S as a cheap save (overcalling initially might have been better) but the known NS heart fit also shows that East might have been considering a Lightner double and now West should grit his / her teeth and not lead one.

7S is still (relatively) cheap of course if the grand slam is making.



bobbywolffJune 23rd, 2022 at 1:18 pm

Hi Iain,

Your post wins a major award in several different ways:

1. .Even though vulnerable, East’s failure to overcalll 1 spade might have cost his side 1340 points since 7 spades (EW) would have gone down only 800 as against 2140.

By not doing so, he (East), selected the dangerous alternative of not bidding, therein denying, to include his partner’s judgment of what to do, much later in the hand.

And, to think, that some would be experts, might feel that East did not have enough to make a vulnerable overcall at the one level.

2. It is indeed a valuable lesson to learn the power of playing 4-4 fits as trump, with a longer, not evenly divided suit between the NS partners, often of much use in establishing an extra trick,
but not as trump.

3. Here, it will even apply when the enabling ruff by declarer is done before the extraction of all the trumps, necessarily due to the 4-1, non-percentage split.

4. Perhaps NS should have taken the NT sacrifice of declaring only either 6 hearts or 6NT for 1430 or 1440 instead of the much lesser EW spade contract would have yielded, had they so opted.

5. Do we play a great game or what?
The sometimes diversity of trick establishment together with the innovative choices available is, all by itself, enough to make our mind game the best ever conceived.

6. Strong endorsement to follow!

Iain ClimieJune 23rd, 2022 at 1:28 pm

HI Bobby,

Many thanks for that but isn’t the damage in 7S Vulnerable 1100 (losing just the 4 Aces)? Your point on 6N still holds though


bobbywolffJune 23rd, 2022 at 3:21 pm

Hi Iain,

Methinks it would be not such good bridge for (with spades trump) East not to play one from dummy when the first round (not to mention succeeding ones) of hearts are led.

Reminds me of in the distant past, my client bridge partner once replied to me, after I asked her why she didn’t trump a deuce of some suit I had led, to which she didn’t have any, but failed to ruff. “Bobby, I was just too tired to trump”.

However and no doubt, if I do not proof read my corrigendum often, I could justifiably be nicknamed (“The error man”) and even when I do, like it or not, I, unbelievably to others (hopefully), sometimes use words I didn’t know existed.

jim2June 23rd, 2022 at 3:35 pm

Sad news of a sort.

Saved a book from the recycle bin of a library sale — apparently it was deemed not-saleable. It was in pristine condition despite being printed in 1961 and appears to be signed on the inside title page by the author.

Title: Play Winning Bridge With Any Partner Even a Stranger

Author: Charles H. Goren

Patrick CheuJune 23rd, 2022 at 4:24 pm

Hi Jim, Many years ago I bought a bridge book from a second hand book shop in Southampton England before it closed down, Goren’s New Contract Bridge Complete printed in the USA 1957..the date has some significance to me. I thought it was very well written and time spent on reading it would benefit any aspiring players..not sure people read much these days only from iphones..sad in many ways from my view point. Regards Patrick

bobbywolffJune 23rd, 2022 at 6:43 pm

Hi Jim2 & Patrick,

Yes, no doubt worthwhile books, and not necessarily about bridge, certainly have seen better days than today.

We’ve seemed to have entered a not so brave world which encourages many mindsets, better off not learned, and then of course, thankfully not emulated.

Perhaps creating a behavioral Peoria to test out new thinking (instead of entertaining shows) which could be valuable in helping the world and certainly the USA with it, could be a first step (in what could eventually increase) to a better way to solve problems.

As an example I am old enough to remember, the extremely positive, patriotic and influential mindset existing here when we were called to war in 1941.

People genuinely helping people work together will never be forgotten by me and was nothing short of inspirational.

Seemingly love was all over the place, so different from now, when hate and what comes with, appears daily instead of very infrequently.

Sure, even back then, horrors like suicide was occasionally mentioned, but the difference now is that when it is committed, the culprit feels compelled to show his hate, by taking what figures to be precious others along with him.

We all can each state our beliefs as to why, when and how, but until earned respect and therein goodness in whatever form it takes, becomes commonplace,

We will need to tread carefully, walk slowly and (as has been said a long time ago) “carry a big stick”.

Joe1June 23rd, 2022 at 11:20 pm

Interesting hand, the 4-4 fit as trump better than 6-4. Educational for sure. What other distributional features point to this? At first glance, knowing it is slam week, I thought hearts, which is cold for 6 but hopeless for 7. Although diamonds make on current layout, others are more iffy. I am not sure I would have gone to 7D on this one (wrongly, as it turns out)

bobbywolffJune 24th, 2022 at 12:45 pm

Hi Joe1,

Yes and no doubt, while trumps do their job of protecting the majority owner by being able to trump the opponent’s high cards, they sometimes become excess baggage in throwing losers away.

Just another originality to which bridge offers an opportunity not often seen in other competitions.

The above anomalous advantage stems from being able to establish a suit (usually when 4-4 in trump, but also with 5-4 or even 5-3 wherein trumps can be effectively used by trumping in the long trump hand, but actually drawing the opponent’s poison (their combined trump holding) with the short trump hand, therein creating the seeming miracle of a play, properly known as “reversing the dummy”.

Just another tidbit which helps tend to allow playing bridge a very special experience for those with inquisitive minds, like you, who delve into the seeming mysteries of our very challenging and often mind altering