Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, January 17th, 2023


Iain ClimieJanuary 31st, 2023 at 4:34 pm

Hi Bobby (and Jim2),

Let’s put Jim2 West here (not East for obvious reasons) and consider the cases where the DA then a heart is right or a heart back at T3 is right (declarer has a diamond void). Now put RR in the East seat with his notorious luck. Whichever card he picks having weighed up the options, the other one falls out of his hand at T3 instead and proves to be the correct choice (SB as declarer jumps on the exposed card of course and insists it is played). Is this something like unstoppable force colliding with immovable object?

Alas it is only fiction….



Michael BeyroutiJanuary 31st, 2023 at 4:44 pm

No, no, no, TOCM is no fiction!

Iain ClimieJanuary 31st, 2023 at 5:02 pm

Hi Michael,

I know that, I’m talking about Jim2 getting to partner RR – he’d then wake up and find it was a dream. There is an old joke that a cat always falls on its feet while toast always lands butter side down. Strap a slice of toast (butter side up) to a cat’s back launch it gently into the air and you have a potential perpetual motion machine as cat and toast laws try to overcome the other and the cat spins in mid air. Who needs Schrodinger here (who was even meaner to cats)?



jim2January 31st, 2023 at 6:30 pm

TOCM ™ — for me there is no escape! 🙁

Bobby WolffJanuary 31st, 2023 at 6:42 pm

Hi Iain & Michael,

No doubt RR has a great time playing our game, but Michael (and, of course Jim2) are right about TOCM being real. However, our game is such an important challenge that everyone playing it should enjoy, even if bad luck (card migration) lurks.

And IMHO, I, while sitting East, will at least try and cash the ace of diamonds, risking a void, rather than fly to others, which I know not of.

Moral-Never quarrel with a bridge writer since he always deals the cards.

Jeff SerandosJanuary 31st, 2023 at 7:34 pm

Hi Bobby,

I know it is not the point of the hand, but what is your opinion of the 4S pre-empt? I’d be inclined to open 1S and, if partner could not speak, jump to 4S at my 2nd turn. I get that the opps might find their way to a 5-level contract that the pre-empt might cause them to miss. Is it worth the trade-off though of not giving partner a chance to speak? In this case, it easily could have gone 1S, 2C, 3S, 3NT and South would probably subside in a contract that rolls home. But on another day, it could work out differently.

So, is it you pays your money, you takes your chances or is there a clear preference between 1S and 4S?


Bobby WolffFebruary 2nd, 2023 at 3:08 pm

Hi Jeff,

First, having a clear preference between those two considerable different actions usually only labels that player’s preference to what he thinks is his experience.

While there is no doubt that opening 1 spade will enable an occasional making 3NT as against down 1 in 4 spades, but, at least to me, I favor the preemptive effect 4 spades may have if high cards and, more importantly, unbalanced distribution may have on the eventual final contract.

Can’t prove it, but at least to me, being what might be called a tough opponent, methinks has more value than what could be called an average distribution of the other 39 ducats. No doubt, the view of those kinds of choices is debatable, but one can look far and wide and for many moons without finding a valid answer.

However, if I am ever in 4th seat with 3 passes to me, 1 spade would be my opening bid.

BTW and for what it is worth, if one does open 1 spade, then a jump to 4 spades next round should show a much better hand, methinks at least 2 more almost sure tricks. IOW, his next bid should only be a minimum rebid in spades, otherwise partner may well expect significantly more strength than he has and thus bypass his last making contract.

Thanks for your post.