Paul Cronin

Learning, learning!

Have spent a lot of time recently thinking about the following hand, where you are North declaring 7



The heart suit combination is not listed in “The Official Encyclopedia Of Bridge”, and my initial thought was that the best line of play would be to start the trump suit with the  Q from dummy.

However, with assistance from the always helpful Bobby Wolff, and the Australian bridge expert  (and professional mathematician) Peter Buchen, I have come to see that this is not so. The best % line of play is to finesse the J and then lay down the ace (unless East plays the 10) – 32.50%. Next best is to lead the Q intending to play the ace next – 31.25%. Least probable is lead the Q and finesse the 10 next time – 30.42%.

While the % differences are small, and the whole topic may be unimportant to many, what is very important to me is the willingness of top players like Bobby and Peter to take the time to explain things to me and help me to understand. We can surely list many things which make bridge the wonderful game it is, but the gracious attitudes shown by Bobby and Peter in so readily sharing their knowledge is at the top of my list! 


Bobby WolffApril 13th, 2014 at 10:52 am

Hi Paul,

It is always a pleasure to respond to you since you are so into our mutually thought great game I do so enthusiastically and without ever thinking not to.

You also do the math to the questions you ask, and like any puzzle I (and I am sure others) enjoy finding out whether our answers are in line or whether we have overlooked key issues.

Keep up your keen bridge mind and your bountiful enthusiasm which undoubtedly will be contagious to others and allow all of us to be privy to useful information.

Again, thank you for all you do for our game.

Judy Kay-WolffApril 13th, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Good morning Paul:

Your tribute to Paul and Bobby’s contributions to our game was quite touching. It would be difficult for others to envision what it is like having a “Bobby” (and earlier Norman) around the house .. on twenty-four hour call. I received instant answers .. not always the ones I wanted or expected .. but knew without a doubt their advice was sound, objective and unbiased .. based on successful years of active duty. I have learned so much, especially in the last ten years when, per force, I began to take the game more seriously, and admittedly I am on the move, because I am (and have been) blessed by having these caring and overwhelmingly accomplished gentlemen in my life for what adds up to half a century. However, I might add that Bobby is a no-nonsense task master. Super for the learning process .. but bad for the ego!



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