Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, 20 November, 2023


Iain ClimieNovember 20th, 2023 at 5:04 pm

Hi Bobby,

A stray query. You hold Qxx None A10xxx Qxxxx. LHO opens 1N (12-14) penalty double from pard, 4H on your right. Love All, pairs. What would you recommend?



Patrick CheuNovember 20th, 2023 at 6:49 pm

Hi Iain, I would like to bid 4N* which must be pick a minor. We would see if Bobby has a different take on this. Another ‘stray’ thought on your 5N a distinct possiblity!? Perhaps my imagination has gone astray…cheers Patrick

bobbywolffNovember 20th, 2023 at 7:05 pm

Hi Iain,

My guess is a clear 4NTdisdaining spades, but then possibly considering and then competing to a small slam, if necessary, in partner’s best minor. I’ll then chance 5NT if the opportunity presents itself, but, if we buy it at the 5 level so be it.

No guarantees ever, but something ever so strange is afoot and I am a player, not an onlooker. First I’ll look at the back of the deck of cards to make sure all 52 are the same color. Then the fun will soon be on us! One of the possibilities is that (while against normal conservative opponents) we will be taking a valid save against a heart make by them.

bobbywolffNovember 20th, 2023 at 8:51 pm

Hi Patrick,

The hand aound the table was North the dealer: s. KJxx, h AKxx, d. Jxx, c. Qx East:s. Ax
h. xx, d. KQxx, c. AKJxx, South: s. 109xx, h J10xxxxx, d. J, c. x, West: s. Qxx, h. void,
d. Axxxx, c. Qxxxx, finally allowing EW all the tricks in clubs when North opened a weak NT East doubled, South a robust 4 hearts, West 4NT, North 5 hearts, East 6 diamonds, all pass.

Immediately after the hand, “We got there” cried East, ” “No, we didn’t” answered West, 7 clubs was cold!!!!

Patrick CheuNovember 20th, 2023 at 9:58 pm

Hi Bobby,After 5H by North, what about 5N by East commited to 6D or 6C but asking West about heart first round control for seven depending on the rest of West’s hand? Is that too farfetched? At least it gives your 5N bid an airing…:)

Patrick CheuNovember 20th, 2023 at 10:01 pm

Hindsight a fine thing! 😀 Where is Iain? He’s gone too quiet..Need your input…:D

bobbywolffNovember 20th, 2023 at 10:06 pm

Hi Patrick,

But even if there is a specific ask for spade control, what about all the other contingencies?

So much guess work, just follow what one thinks are the percentages, with the psychologies against the pair you are playing always in mind, but ready to do battle and focused.

Pays your money, takes your chances!

Patrick CheuNovember 20th, 2023 at 10:14 pm

Hi Bobby,If one is playing against the world champs..would ‘you’ bid 7D or 7C knowing that they would likely be in 6? Methinks yes..maybe pure optimism..

Patrick CheuNovember 20th, 2023 at 10:21 pm

Hi again,Not a fair question as you are a world champ..:)

bobbywolffNovember 20th, 2023 at 10:22 pm

Hi Patrick,

Don’t ever either underestimate nor overestimate your then opponents. I would be happy to arrive in 6 diamonds, making, as a result and let the opponents try to be better.

If I had gambled 7 clubs and was now waiting for it to be passed out, I would be VERY happy for those opponents to take the seven heart save. Wrong again I would be, but my guess
not in the lifetime time frame!

Iain ClimieNovember 21st, 2023 at 9:09 am

Hi Bobby, Patrick,

Partner has SAK98xx Qx Kx KJx so you need to get into spades somehow. We ingloriously played in 5D going a few off after pard’s first bid was 5C promptly doubled by the 1N opener who had CA109xx. Pard rescued himself to 5D which was undoubled but went 3 off. The 4H bidder had xx KJ109xxxx xxx None.

Great fun (not) and I seem to be getting a lot of these hands wrong recently!



Iain ClimieNovember 21st, 2023 at 9:20 am

So, if you get everything right, 6S rolls home as you can just ruff two hearts even on a trump lead with the 1N opener holding SJ10 alone and D3-3. 4H can go 2 off (2 spades, 2 diamonds and a ruff) but made once. All good fun!

Iain ClimieNovember 21st, 2023 at 11:13 am

PS Looking at all 4 hands, I should have “rescued” partner to 6C from 5D then shifted to 6S when that was doubled as 6S would surely have been doubled by the player with 2 Aces…..

Live and learn!

bobbywolffNovember 21st, 2023 at 3:25 pm

Hi Iain,

Felt giving you a chance to break your column record of three comments in a row to four would be a sporting thing to do, but you resisted.

However, your discussion of considering slam in three different suits is probably enough effort to make up for your not seeking the above. At least, to your credit, a NT contract was not considered, probably because your hand had only 13 cards (so how can you not be void in hearts and probably minus one is more likely).

And finally, Live definitely, but learn? hm………

Iain ClimieNovember 21st, 2023 at 3:52 pm

Hi Bobby,

Thanks for that. I did even wonder about 5H from partner but there is always the possibility that the doubler has wasted values in hearts e.g. AJ10x Q10xx KQx KJ or similar. Then you just want whatever limited money can be taken off 4H.

Hi Patrick,

This wasn’t opposite Chris Stevens, incidentally – he’s been away in the Caribbean on holiday for 3 weeks.



Patrick CheuNovember 21st, 2023 at 9:38 pm

Hi Iain, I like to have been there to see everyone’s reaction to the auction…meanwhile I have to keep a straight face..:D Thanks for your hand it was entertainment to be sure!? Cheers Patrick

Patrick CheuNovember 21st, 2023 at 9:40 pm

Hi Iain again,Maybe,just maybe you should give the hand to Chris when he gets back…Ha Ha