Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, March 28th, 2015

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.

Aldous Huxley

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


Jeff Meckstroth has been one of the world’s great players for 35 years. And here is one of his early and favorite declarer play hands.

Against one no-trump Billy Rosen led the diamond two and Meckstroth made the first of many good decisions, to run this to his 10 as Milt Rosenberg played small. Then declarer followed up with the diamond three and when West split his honors Meckstroth did well again, ducking to force East to win his bare ace.

Rosenberg returned a low club, and Meckstroth won the king and led the spade jack from his hand to West’s king. He ducked the next club, won the third round of the suit, and ducked another spade to East, who cashed the master club as both West and South threw hearts and dummy pitched a diamond.

Back came a heart to South’s ace, and declarer crossed to dummy with a spade; on this trick Rosen was squeezed. He had to discard a heart or declarer could cash two diamonds, so he was forced to reduce to the bare heart queen, and now declarer led a heart from table.

East could duck – in which case West would win and surrender the last two tricks to dummy — or he could take his king, and concede the last two tricks to South with the heart six and spade ace.

The purists would probably refer to this as some sort of a Vise or a Winkle or a Stepping-stone. Most of us would just call it magic!

Without the competition to two diamonds your raise to two hearts would suggest extras (maybe 16-18 and four trumps). In competition the call could easily be made on any shape-suitable double with four trumps. Does that mean you should do more here? No it does not. You are close to a maximum for your call but certainly within range – and partner can bid on with hopes of game.


♠ A J 6 4
 A 6 3 2
 10 3
♣ A K 8
South West North East
Dbl. Pass 1 2

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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Michael BeyroutiApril 11th, 2015 at 8:29 pm

To whom does today’s quote apply? I can think of no one better than our host!

Iain ClimieApril 11th, 2015 at 8:50 pm

Well said, Michael, and I heartily agree. There again, someone asked me the secret of my (seemingly ) youthful enthusiasm a few years ago and I just said “Immaturity”. Not quite so good, alas.

Should the defence have persisted with clubs today or switched to a heart earlier? Easy from the sidelines, of course.


Bobby WolffApril 11th, 2015 at 9:26 pm

Hi Michael,

Much thanks for your positive opinion and one which makes me feel younger and above all, very proud.

However, the one necessity for Aldous Huxley’s quote to apply is the same powerful constructive enthusiasm coming to him from so many qualified sources (you and all others) who have blessed both the wonderful game we play and me with your attention, wisdom, and equally important, your cooperative kind and thoughtful presentations.

It is my fervent wish that bridge will forever live on, never to be short circuited, and I will always cherish what so much of our wonderful, but often troubled entire world, has already put in place to make sure it reaches our youth, no doubt, the best way to do it.

Bridge for Peace is only the slogan of the World Bridge Federation, but if one could experience the respect it engenders toward each other, among all nationalities, religions and civilized people, others may one fine day, and the sooner the better, understand that all nations share respect for special mind competitions, since all human beings are born with the ability to reason and our otherwise extremely challenging game only requires doing that, but on a very legal, ethical and consistent basis.

No doubt, your comment has made my day.

Bobby WolffApril 11th, 2015 at 9:53 pm

Hi Iain,

Yes, if hearts instead of clubs, had been switched to or better still, if Billy Rosen had chosen a heart lead instead of a diamond (no doubt a close choice), we would have had to use another of Jeff’s gems in order to honor his name, since the play, being different, would not have catered to Jeff’s genius to make his personal stamp.

And speaking of Billy Rosen, he being 5 years older than even moi, won the Bermuda Bowl in 1954 (held in Monte Carlo) while representing America. During those years he was drafted into the Army and spent time in San Antonio, Texas, stationed about 10 blocks from my parents house at one of our Army bases.

He was an early mentor of mine, spending his time and effort on me, for which I will be forever appreciative.

The good news is that he and his loving wife Eunice are still alive and kicking with annual car trips to Las Vegas (from Chicago). It is truly a small world and now you know the rest of this not so exciting story (but it is meaningful to me).