Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Vulnerable: Both

Dealer: East


K 8 5 3

J 10 9 6

A J 9

10 7


A 6 2

Q 2

K 7 4

K J 9 8 4


Q 10 9 7

7 5 4

8 6 3 2

5 2


J 4

A K 8 3

Q 10 5

A Q 6 3


South West North East
1 NT Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 4 All pass

Opening Lead: Diamond four

“I decline to buy repentance at the cost of ten thousand drachmas.”

— Demosthenes

I do not want the readers of this column to think I publish deals that involve me just to show myself in a good light. On the contrary, I am aware that a neutral observer would probably find more howlers than brilliancies if they were to scrutinize the record carefully. As Bob Hamman said: “The best play lousy, the rest worse.”

At the Forbo tournament a decade ago there was an introductory four-way international match. When U.S.A. played Italy, the two teams failed to land a blow in the first eight boards — but then came the deluge in favor of Italy, and I started the flood.

Here I opened a strong no-trump and declared four hearts after a Stayman inquiry. Receiving a diamond lead, I won the jack and made what I thought was the natural play when I ran the heart jack at trick two. When Alfredo Versace won this and returned a heart, I took this in the dummy and found that I could no longer ruff two clubs in dummy because of the 5-2 club split, and so had to go down.

By contrast, Norberto Bocchi for Italy accurately took a club finesse at trick two and won the diamond return to play the club ace, then ruff a club high. When East discarded on this trick, Bocchi crossed back to hand in trumps to ruff a second club, then played off the second top heart to drop the queen offside. With the spade ace his only other loser, he made an overtrick for a gain of 13 IMPs.


South holds:

Q 10 9 7
7 5 4
8 6 3 2
5 2


South West North East
1 Dbl. 1
Pass 1 Dbl. 2
ANSWER: With the opponents coming to a stop in two clubs, you have just enough to compete to two spades. Because you know your partner was eager for you to compete, your four-card spade suit should entitle you to bid now. That you did not bid one spade at your first turn limits you to at most a five-count.


For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact