Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, August 1st, 2022


Iain ClimieAugust 15th, 2022 at 9:11 am

Hi Bobby,

As Virgil put it in the Aeneid: “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes” – I fear the Greeks, even those bearing gifts (said by the priest Laocoon). Less pretentiously (moi??) the defence won’t go far wrong by trying to do the opposite of what declarer clearly wants. Amusingly the last spade if the defence cash out squeezes East in 3 suits here as discarding the CQ allows that suit to be set up. Even if declarer cashes the CA instead though, that squashes poor East in the red suits.

Physical hugs are all very well and comforting in real life, but not the boa constrictor variety which occur here at the card table.



Steve ConradAugust 15th, 2022 at 9:31 am

Thanks so much for a week of squeeze defense. When I teach simple squeezes, someone always asks about practicing defense against a squeeze. Accumulating such deals is not easy. The only source I know is a book on squeezes by Frank Schuld, the husband of one of my partners, his widow, Diana Schuld.

Iain ClimieAugust 15th, 2022 at 11:22 am

Hi Bobby (and Jim2 with apologies),

What do you get if you cross Jim 2 with Mollo’s Rueful Rabbit? Answer: West is RR and has pulled the S4 by mistake from AJ9742 while both red suits are 3-3 and team mates are conceding 430 against the S7 lead. I’m just saying ….

As Jim2 works in engineering (I think) can I ask if he’s heard of the CASSANDRA hazard log tool?



jim2August 15th, 2022 at 1:53 pm

Iain Climie –

My agency used MORT for accident investigation. It reportedly was pioneered in Japan and had a very developmental history.

Using the very complex flow chart, one is presented Qs at each branching. The result NEVER IDs or points at any specific individual.

For example, if an operator/worker made a mistake, the individual was not responsible. Instead, something else was, like an unclear procedure.

Supposedly, the reason for this classification was that, in Japan, if responsibility for an accident was linked to a person, that person too often lost such face that suicide was a frequent result.

bobbywolffAugust 15th, 2022 at 2:19 pm

Hi Iain,

And first, when I realized that today is Monday and you in such a good mood, we need to celebrate your great and straight to the point posts.

Must have been a great weekend with either extremely good news, winning sports bets,
grooving with an old friend, or maybe just winning a difficult bridge tournament.

Plus the wonderful references to Mollo’s RR, the Trojan Horse emphasizing the folly of being naive when decent bridge players offer gifts, and my even wondering about the CASSANDRA
hazard log tool.

All in all, a very uplifting image, which almost all Mondays need. Except perhaps, for sometime in the future someone to construct a hand where declarer had the heart ten instead of small, as well as an extra spade, instead of a fourth diamond.
The final insult would of course be, declarer thanking the poor West for making his heart switch, saving him from having to finesse it himself.

There, unfortunately for all, Monday has now become, what it usually is! My nickname is not KILLJOY for no reason.

Iain ClimieAugust 15th, 2022 at 2:32 pm

Hi Jim2,

I’ve spent many years on aerospace safety so I know what you mean. The JAL123 747 crash in 1985 sadly led to a couple of suicides.

Hi Bobby,

Thanks and just as a reminder (or for those who don’t know the story) Cassandra was the daughter of Priam who was an accurate prophet but never believed. So when she warned against dragging the horse in, the reaction was “Oh do be quiet, just because you’ve been right the last 47 times, doesn’t mean you are this one….”


bobbywolffAugust 15th, 2022 at 2:44 pm

Hii Steve,

The Schulds were good friends and often very difficult opponents to beat whenever, almost always at a bridge nationals, my partner and I squared off against them.

A perhaps interesting bridge history even might relate in Montreal, during the bridge Nationals, (I think1967) my partner, Dan Morse (Houston) and I were playing in the closed room during the Spingold against the Schulds while our teammates, Johnny Gerber and Charley Goren were taking on their teammates when Charley Goren was experiencing early developing Alzheimers in the other room, making that setting the last session of bridge he ever played. Dan and I heard later that the vast number of the kibitzers openly watching them, many were crying.

The good news (if I can be so callous to state) is that our team (we had five players) went on to finish 2nd, losing in the finals, but Dan and I then qualified for the team trials, my first
exposure to that type of competition.

bobbywolffAugust 15th, 2022 at 2:56 pm

Hi Jim2,

Maybe we should consider the same type of procedure for making bridge mistakes, but then all other bridge players may then lose the opportunity to play against error prone players,
a possibility which may make it tougher to consistently do well.

Somewhat morbid, but similar to a remark I once heard my partner ask me, “When did you learn to play bridge?” When I didn’t answer him immediately, he interrupted and said, “I
know it was today, but what time today”!

Steve ConradAugust 16th, 2022 at 8:42 am

I have been told a version of the story of Goren’s last team game. Diana said that she and Frank had been approached and were asked to do some favor, since this would be Goren’s last game. I believe they were asked to sit out and be replaced for that round, and they did. Is that in alignment with your memory, or is it apocryphal?

bobbywolffAugust 16th, 2022 at 7:02 pm

Hi Steve,

Very likely not apocryphal, but I do not know of any other goings on, including that session already being determined to be Charley’s last one.

After all, Dan and I were not especially known and thus likely not in the
loop for any asking or telling streaming from us. Life, possibly especially in the bridge world, was very class conscious, with important, sometimes
critical, win or lose decisions, going through the known channels, not the speculative notions of basic kids. For the record and after reaching the finals against the Kaplan and Kay team, Johnny Gerber left the city leaving the remainder of his team to lose the finals by a large margin.