Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022


Iain ClimieDecember 7th, 2022 at 1:41 pm

HI Bobby,

South was one further chance here, although tiny – if East has S109 doubleton the ruffing finesse still works after a spade to the 10 or 9 and Jack.



Bobby WolffDecember 7th, 2022 at 2:18 pm

Hi Everyone,

So easy to get careless when playing West and not to cover dummy’s 7. However, if West profited by what happened, it is worth this bad score to get an upfront and close knowledge of what covering cards is all about, namely it is not just honors which need to be covered.

IMO, very few bridge teachers wculd, could, get into this difficult arithmetic nature of why, for two reasons, first, perhaps too difficult to explain and be remembered and also, not knowing nor thought about by them before a hand like this appears and is
discussed. No doubt a technical error made but perhaps a proud story told by the nine of spades, to add to Darvas’ brilliant bridge book, “Right Through The Pack”.

Bobby WolffDecember 7th, 2022 at 2:21 pm

More with chagrin,

It is course East, not West, who failed to cover say I, retreating embarrassingly from my perch.

Iain ClimieDecember 7th, 2022 at 3:15 pm

Hi Bobby,

Don’t worry about typos – let her or she who is perfect here cast the first ston.

There is a small extra chance though – what if East has S109 alone? Also, if North’s hearts were slightly better (AK98x) there is an amusing double dummy line with East holding S9x. Take T1, cash DA, HA and eliminatr clubs. Then lead the DQ and see how the defenders avoid one of them getting endplayed.



clarksburgDecember 7th, 2022 at 5:41 pm

Good morning Bobby
Awkward to bid hand?
Matchpoints, adverse VUL, second seat after dealer passed.
You hold:
AQ83 Q108762 J108 void.
What to bid? Pass? weak 2H holding four Spades? aggressive off-shape Flannery?

Iain ClimieDecember 7th, 2022 at 6:30 pm

Hi Clarksburg,

1H at a pinch? I’m not at all sure about pass thouggh intending to wade in later. What if Pard holds K AKx xxxx 10xxxx or similar and the opponents pass too? OK that’s a precise hand (so naughty – partner won’t have that) but I’d bid something with the shape and intermediates.

Sensible answer from Bobby awaited.



Bobby WolffDecember 7th, 2022 at 7:38 pm

Hi Clarksburg (with Iain close-by),

Haven’t you seen a book example of a vulnerable weak 2 heart bid. Some play that one flaw is enough to not make a certain bid (and on occasion a certain lead) well this hand has several flaws, each cancelling the other out. IOW a perfect WTB (in spite of the other major). No one has made use of the unspoken other commandment of allowing partner to criticize anyone over a certain age (and whatever that upper limit I have, if you will excuse the words, other major.

PS. Iain is still waiting!

clarksburgDecember 7th, 2022 at 9:04 pm

Re my question and the answers from Iain and Bobby
For those interested:
It was a large ACBL on-line 18 Board game.
The numbers of calls with that hand were:
Pass 25
1 Heart 21
2 Hearts 11
Flannery 3
3 Hearts 1
Sure enough Two Hearts (makeable w any lead) was the best contract. Some of the initial Passers also got there by some bizarre routes.
Those opening 1 Heart ended up somewhere too high.
Confession: I was one of the three creative geniuses who opened Flannery.

Iain ClimieDecember 8th, 2022 at 8:52 am

Hi Clarksburg, Bobby,

As I said, you know the best source of sensible advice! I’m just twitchy about opening a hand with good intermediates that is so much better (an extra Ace) than some of my weak 2 bids, but maybe I shouldn’t open the rubbish ones so often.



Iain ClimieDecember 8th, 2022 at 10:47 am

Hi Clarksburg,

As I said, if you want a sensible answer… The hand is just so much better than some of the ones I open though.