Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, 9 February, 2024


Iain ClimieFebruary 9th, 2024 at 11:42 am

Hi Bobby,

I take it the 3C was ordinary not 5 card Stayman today. A minor point but there is a modern trend (which I sometimes follow) to bend 2N opening bids e.g holding 5422or 6322 hands. In such a case, North might assume South held (say) AKQJxx in spades with disastrous consequences.

Any thoughts on how far it is sensible to move away from rather older ideas (5332, 4333 or 4432 with the 5 card suit only a minor). I vaguely toyed with it last night holding KJx Q AKQxx KQ9x but made myself behave and open 1D. I do recall opening a 1444 21 count with stiff HA 2N on one occasion though.



bobbywolffFebruary 9th, 2024 at 2:42 pm

Hi Iain,

At the very least you (at least IMO) have completely covered (even more so) modern tendencies to perhaps overuse the opening gambit of 2NT, perhaps exaggerating the
difficulty of even a very good pair of opponents to eventually defend your final contract, perhaps with today’s hand intended to being a minor live example, but after the auction was completed, the defense should have been, and was, likely in tune. Finally, when and if holding
AKQJxx in spades would (should) not be in the game, not because of opening 2NT, but rather just jumping (with that suit texture) to 4 spades over partner’s 3C major suit ask. No bridge book would likely exhibit such an aberration, but from a practical side (and for potential slam situations) hearing needs to be firmly believing and AK10xx is not in that ballpark, only a very small and woefully inadequate to even being a notch in that direction just and so was your presentation in case slam was in the air, but spades being the highest possible trump suit with nowhere to go if the responder was very short (a real possibility) to suspect, screams out (or should) to the 2NT opener to thread carefully, meaning deftly and not assert impossible dilemmas for partner to solve (AKQJxx might, but certainly not AK10xx or anything close to that).

However, “Aside from that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play”? (Since I am talking with a life long European, and Abraham Lincoln will go down as one of our greatest Kings, forgive me since I meant Presidents, I, (just in case you weren’t listening during the discussion of only one of your country’s’ possessions, while being schooled and Abraham Lincoln was assassinated while his wife was attending a play).

The declarer play was excellent and so was your blog

David SnookFebruary 9th, 2024 at 7:20 pm


Another terrific, and for bridge, an appropriate quote…

And another terrific hand…

I believe this is an end play situation?

It seems like the solution is to first eliminate the diamond and club suites, then throw East on lead with the final spade and make him, or her, lead away from the king and jack of hearts?

(I have not looked at your explanation yet, btw… what would be the honor in cheating?)

I tried counting the hand out and couldn’t quite see if I could pinpoint the location of that final spade honor. I can see that W has 6 clubs and 3 diamonds, so W can only have a total of 4 hearts and spades combined and at that point I can start to really narrow things down.

But is there any way to be sure the spade Q is with East, or is that a lucky guess in the end?

And thank you for such a nice comment on Saturday’s hand!

Your column is one of the first places I go mornings, as I eat my breakfast…

Bridge really, really makes one think, and that is a good thing.

MirceaFebruary 10th, 2024 at 9:35 am

Nice board, Bobby. Thanks for sharing

Novice question: assuming N-S are playing Puppet over 2NT and North’s holding in the majors are swapped (a 4=1=4=4 hand now), how does he check for key cards?

Iain ClimieFebruary 11th, 2024 at 5:54 pm

Hi Mircea,

I would assume that North cue-bids here (in this case easily with 4C), South does the same and now 4N asks. If North bids 4H over 3S with a slightly different hand (agreeing spades and with a H control) then either South can trot out what someone called “The mechanised cosh” (although that referred to normal Blackwood) or, if South bids 4S, then North can risk RKCBW. South cue-bidding 5C or similar might be an alternative approach but then 4N is bypassed. I would suggest that the weaker hand has a better idea of overall slam suitability though, so a 4-level cue-bid after 2N – 3C – 3S (5 spades) shopuld show significant slam interest instead of being just a noise on the way to 4S.

Better answer from Bobby to follow!