Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday May 24th, 2023


Iain ClimieMay 24th, 2023 at 10:09 am

Hi Bobby,

The bidding today seems a bit strange. I’d expect 3C to be 4th Suit Forcing (rather than showing clubs) when South should maybe bid 3D. Perhaps you can explain. Still, as it worked out, the HAQ were protected from the opening lead.

In terms of chess players like Fischer, many have also played bridge. Deschappelles was very good at chess and whist, Grandmaster Jonathan Mestel now plays more bridge to a good level and I’ve known many who are good at both. Fischer’s nemesis in the late 60s (whom he eventually overcame) was Mikhail Tal, aka the magician from Riga, who was World Champion from 1960-61. He bamboozled the young Bobby in the 1959 candidates tournament and jokingly suggested that “There are two kinds of (chess) sacrifices – correct ones and mine”. He created incredibly complex and unmanageable positions while often playing quicker than his opponents. I can’t help feeling he’d have made a very decent bridge player had the opportunity arisen. The ches equivalent of Zia Mahmood perhaps?



Iain ClimieMay 24th, 2023 at 12:05 pm

Hi again Bobby,

Also, I notice the column is popping up much earlier now (good news). Just out of interest, which time zone are you in?



bobbywolffMay 24th, 2023 at 2:58 pm

Hi Iain,

While trying to deal directly with your brought up “fodder for thought” let me espouse.

There is a valid reason for a so-called fourth suit bid not necessarily being natural, usually defined at least four cards long, as shown here when North preferred to show his two card difference, which, to my view, has merit, particularly when the first response by partner appears to be the likely start of a miss fit.

Next, when chess enters the original discussion of bridge, it is, to me, a conversation about two extremely different type games (both well worth playing and each, very competitive, but
one where all assets are clearly in view, chess, while bridge should be noted so very unlike, when the played pieces of each are in chess clearly visible to both, but the opposite in bridge, both during the bidding and even the play where only one trick at a time is viewed with the talent necessary to figure out with each not shown hand a mystery until the end and especially so in the just as important first stage, “bidding”.

Yes, Zia is a great example of a truly excellent bridge player who excels by taking different views than some of his like highest level players, which might also include some similar chess players who indulge with their own view of jousting aggressively with early play, but also having a very good record of ultimate victories.

Finally, I am located in the Pacific time zone, 3 hours earlier than NY which in turn you need to figure out how many hours you and I are, by now, quite used to the major difference.

And yes it is good news for you to now be able to make use of your bidding magic much earlier than in the past.

Iain ClimieMay 24th, 2023 at 3:16 pm

HI Bobby,

Thanks for that but, what I didn’t understand, was that South is bidding 3N with nothing in clubs when North’s FSF bid might be just a probe with not much in clubs (e.g. on Qxx, Jxxx) – hence my suggestion of 3D showing no club stop; over that, North can bid 3N tbf. I suspect I’d have bid 2N over 2H with the North hand and South might then pass or push to 3N at teams. I’d then have a fairly easy ride except on a H lead.



bobbywolffMay 24th, 2023 at 4:34 pm

Hi Iain,

You’ve become initially an individually intriguing entrenched in to it but invert from what has generally been the rules of the day, when bidding suits (except artificially) showed real suits (4 cards or longer). North (with today’s hand) preferred to rebid his substantial 6 card diamond suit rather than his only 4 card one.

It is not unusual for even very experienced players to fall victim to those would-be bridge experts, who choose to make a bid to which it is 50-50 or less, that partner will understand it. When bids have an artificial tone that should be unusual but in the well-practiced partnerships they will likely recognize the difference, allowing North in this case to hide his clubs the second round, but in some cases have a third round bid of a different suit still show that suit, This is one of those cases, and should make sense to you as necessary, allowing you to skip clubs for a rebid and then show them later.

No real problem and a pleasure to discuss now rather than never. It is not you I am aiming at, but rather all those who try their best to make every bid they make their choice and to heck with partner, if he assumes another meaning.

Unfortunately the newer the player the less likely he will understand what has become standard practice over the years, but not discussed recently.

Iain ClimieMay 24th, 2023 at 4:50 pm

Hi Bobby,

Thanks for that and one to raise with my regular partner.