Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, May 13th, 2013

Even victors are by victories undone.

John Dryden

West North
Both ♠ 8 4 2
 10 9 5
 J 6
♣ K Q J 6 3
West East
♠ K Q 9 5
 A K 10 9 7 2
♣ 10 9
♠ A J 10 7 6 3
♣ A 8 7 4 2
♠ —
 A K Q 8 7 4 3 2
 Q 5 4 3
♣ 5
South West North East
1 Pass 1♠
4 4♠ 5 5♠
Pass Pass 6 Pass
Pass Dbl. All pass  


All this week's deals come from recent Cavendish tournaments. Going into the final match of the 1999 Cavendish Teams, there were three squads with realistic chances of taking the title. Lou Ann O'Rourke was in the lead, but that team lost heavily to Peter Boyd, the team in third place that switched places with them. This meant that the Chip Martel team, in second spot, could take the title if they could win their encounter with Gabriel Chagas (playing with Zia) by more than 10 IMPs. They were 1 IMP down with just today's deal to score up.

In the auction shown, Chagas as East passed his partner’s five-spade bid, and Howard Weinstein as South sacrificed in six hearts, doubled by Zia. This figured to be a reasonable enough result for North-South. Better still, after a top diamond lead, Zia erred by shifting to the spade king, thus collecting only 500.

When Chagas’ teammates bid as far as six hearts with the North-South cards, Chip Martel as East tried six spades and North sacrificed in seven hearts. After the lead of the two top diamonds, Martel pitched a discouraging spade, so Stansby played a third diamond, collecting an overruff and the club ace for 1100, and 12 IMPs to his side. That meant Martel’s team won the event by the smallest possible margin.

Incidentally, at another table, when Fred Gitelman as East defended six hearts doubled on this deal, he thoughtfully threw the spade ace away at trick two to ensure that his partner played a third diamond!

Although you have a choice between the majors, there are clues suggesting that a spade might be better. The primary one is that partner did not double the two-heart cuebid. The second is that East did not make a negative double, and West did not bid two spades at his second turn. All of that makes it likely partner has three or more spades. Does that mean a spade must be right? No, but I'd still lead one.


♠ K 10 7 4 2
 9 3
 5 4 3
♣ Q 7 6
South West North East
1 1 2
Pass 2 Pass 3 NT
All pass      

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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact