Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, March 12th, 2016

Most people avoid thinking if they can, some of us are addicted to thinking, but Von Neumann actually enjoyed thinking, maybe even to the exclusion of everything else.

Edward Teller

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


Today’s deal is a neat variant of an old theme, and comes from an Australian newspaper nearly 40 years ago.

At one table South won the spade lead in hand and led a diamond, the eight going to the 10 (nicely done by West) jack and king. Now East had just one play to defeat the contract, and he found it when he shifted to the club 10 to smother dummy’s nine. Whether South covered with the jack or not, the defenders could set up their five winners before declarer could get to nine. South’s main remaining hope was to find the heart jack coming down in three rounds, but when it did not do so, he was out of chances.

In the other room declarer took the spade 10 in hand with the king, and also led the diamond eight from hand at trick two. Again, West covered, but this time declarer ducked the diamond 10. What could the defenders do? If East overtook with the king and shifted to clubs, declarer would have won the ace and tested hearts, then pick up the diamond suit for four tricks by finessing against the queen.

At the table West was left on lead and shifted to a club. Declarer took the club queen with the ace, and cashed the three top hearts. Then he played a diamond toward the ace, and another diamond. When it turned out that it was West who had three diamonds, declarer was home and dry.

This hand is too good just to sign off in three notrump. It feels as if it is worth an invitation to slam, but not a drive to slam. If you had a major, you could transfer to that suit and bid four no-trump (using a Texas transfer at the four level followed by four no-trump as Blackwood). With a long minor, the simplest way to show your values is a direct jump to four no-trump.


♠ Q 7 4
 A 10 8
 A J 5 4 2
♣ 9 2
South West North East
    2 NT 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact