Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, June 11th, 2022


Iain ClimieJune 25th, 2022 at 12:51 pm

Hi Bobby,

I often bang on about weak 4-4 fits being over-rated and this case is a perfect illustration. If H are 3-2, there are still 12 easy tricks in 6N but if they misbehave, then 6H is off regardless but 6N may not be. Credit to South for realising that unless North’s opening bid was really scruffy, then there would be points to spare so NT gives extra chances. In the same way, with (say) a 12 count and H10xxx opposite a 15-17 NT, one of the simples ways to get unlucky is to find a poor 4-4 heart fit (partner has Q8xx, say) and go off in 4H with 3N easy. Also at pairs, the extra 10 points might nbe useful.

It is of course possible to construct hands where this nisn’t true of course…



jim2June 25th, 2022 at 1:05 pm

I recognized this hand. It’s one of my many sad stories from last years Slush Cup. 🙁

Most N-S partnerships ended in 6H, going down. A few ended in 6N, but none was up to the column play.

I, of course, was sitting East and our opponents blundered about from one bidding misunderstanding to another before landing in 6D.

Declarer began by drawing three rounds of trump and then cashing the 6 top black suit winners. When my partner showed out on the third club w/o ruffing, that was all the clue declarer needed to cash the Board’s top heart first and then lead towards the closed hand’s heart winner.

If I ruffed, declarer could follow with a heart loser, ruff any return, and cash the AH. If I discarded, the AH would win and the 4th club would be ruffed with the Board’s last trump as I helplessly followed suit.

Another Slush Cup bottom.

bobbywolffJune 25th, 2022 at 1:18 pm

Hi Iain,

Congratulations, you have just won the top graduating honor statement in our most majestic bridge class.

Taking us through the losing side of hallowing 4-4 major suit fits, particularly so when the high cards, thus winning tricks, appear amply supplied with the declaring side, but not the spot cards in the would be trump suit, leaving themselves susceptible to bad breaks.

Sort of a bidding “safety play”, but even better said, your last prophetic paragraph which finishes up your truth in great style and, of course will prevent law suits by distraught bridge partnerships who were expecting guarantees.

bobbywolffJune 25th, 2022 at 1:58 pm

Hi Jim2,

Pity! But I too, had heard of the top score those opponents had received from reaching their not so obvious 4-2 making diamond slam.

TOCM, like the many forms of Covid 19, 20 and 21, take many forms and deeply resents those who try to fool with the falcon. (F words being carefully monitored).

Although the event you described was the lead-off event of the Slush Cup competition, which resulted in that diamond slam bidding partnership winning the event, they became a very popular choice for teammates in the other team games.

Unfortunately for them, there were fewer than expected naturally bad trump breaks for the other players causing them to finish last in all the other team events and, for them, also carried over to the pair games.

Especially sad for them, since the overall prize for the highest ice point awards were romantic dates with Lena for the “lucky winner(s)”.

And to think that all 6NT players probably neglected to rid themselves of the six of clubs, when leading to the king, while playing 6NT.

Iain ClimieJune 25th, 2022 at 2:30 pm

Hi Jim2,

I’m ashamed to admit I pulled off something similar in the late 70s (!) when I wound up in 6C not even 6D holding AQx xx Kxxx AQxx in hand and xx AKQx Axxx Xxx on table. A spade to the K and A helped so I then cashed CK, CA, SQ, ruff spade all following then D to hand and cash CQ LHO discarding. A pity but D to dummy, 3 rounds of hearts to which East had to follow and the last heart. RHO could either ruff his partner’s top heart or discard letting me ruff and seeing LHO’s winning D and his trump clide at T13. 2 (losers) into 1 (trick) did go. Rather lucky…

Hi Bobby, Thanks for the kind comments and the legal caveat!



Joe1June 25th, 2022 at 11:46 pm

BWTA. What about 2 NT? Not optimal distribution for double?

Iain ClimieJune 26th, 2022 at 11:08 am

Hi Joe1,

You might bid that with a rather weaker hand (typically 15-18 with a guard) so missing game is too likely.



bobbywolffJune 26th, 2022 at 1:49 pm

Hi Joe1,

Yes, while Iain doesn’t need nor require my affirmation, your subject hand is a full level above what is needed (an approximate strong NT) to overcall a WTB with a simple 2NT).

Therefore, other bids such as a takeout double, or conceivably just some sort of suit overcall, including a possible jump (with a long and strong single suit) should serve as the proper choice, keeping in mind that a player cannot pre-empt a pre-emptor.

While logic may dictate that to start with overcalling 2NT over any 2 level opening bid on one’s right (except, and, of course, a strong 2 bid), practically denies that notion (as do many other aspects in competitive bidding) as our bridge forefathers have convinced us.

IOW, partner is just not allowed to have a totally trickless hand, but, if he does, he needs to accept responsibility for the carnage. Somewhat like bringing toenail clippers to a gunfight.