Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, 16 November, 2023


Robert LiptonNovember 16th, 2023 at 9:04 pm

When it comes to playing trumps at 4Hearts, you’ve got a loser anyway, you can only guard against West having for of them, so the way to play is to lead to the King and then back to Dummy, covering whatever West plays. Likewise, when playing Spade, you lead the singleton off the board, and when East doesn’t rise with the Ace, use the Boos Tip: if they don’t play it, they don’t have it. Try the Jack.

even an old rubber bridge duffer like me would make 4 Hearts.

Bob Lipton

bobbywolffNovember 16th, 2023 at 11:06 pm

Hi Bob,

Assuming that you play as confidently as you write, the only time ever for you to lose, is, while playing rubber bridge, you get out held. That sort of positivity is definitely necessary
for any player to play his or her best and to continue a reign of usually winning.

However, even considering your earnest response from your “Boos Tip”, when and if you play against really good players (most players never have that experience), the prevailing
bromide is that the opponents will “always” or almost so, duck when it becomes the right
play to make. Yes, unfortunately or perhaps fortunately (if one is lucky enough to play against the best) the real game of bridge easily becomes understood as the “best mind game ever”, a moniker it so richly deserves.

And, of course, you would still make 4 hearts since you would now be able to figure out
what to do. And your calling yourself a duffer is merely a modest lie, since your bridge judgment, through the years, has now peaked, to its strongest ever.

Jeff SerandosNovember 16th, 2023 at 11:22 pm

Hi Bobby,

I looked at this hand last night when I was tired and am circling back to it now. I am still a little confused. How do I know who holds the boss spade at the end? On the third round, if East leads the 9S, is that from T9 or 98? At this point, East knows that what he leads should make no difference to his partner so it seems like the 9S doesn’t really help declarer determine where the 10 is. Or am I overthinking it (um, or underthinking it)?



Robert LiptonNovember 16th, 2023 at 11:46 pm

Bobby, you forget that at rubber, you also have Center Hand Opponent to contend with.

Bob Lipton

bobbywolffNovember 17th, 2023 at 8:11 pm

Hi Jeff,

Innate is the word to cultivate in order to improve your skills to win more often. And by using that key expression to advantage, you may (I say with reservation) be better placed to “feel” what a specific opponent is doing at the climax.

Thoughts are thoughts and the same for words, but paying attention to one’s foe becomes the direction to success. People, even bridge players, lose their identify to their watchful competitors and you need to pursue that talent.

bobbywolffNovember 17th, 2023 at 8:25 pm

Hi Bob,

By Center Hand Opponent are you speaking about luck or mere cheating? At least the difference is monstrous since “Yes, Virginia, luck balances out and should never be used as an excuse for not getting there”. But, if one, after playing a bridge session (or two or three) and does not do at all well, then the answer will be uncovered and its very unlikely due to cheating.