Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Behold the life at ease, it drifts,
The sharpened life commands its course.

George Meredith

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


If North had bid a constructive two hearts at his first turn, South would have had a close decision as to whether to invite game. However North had a borderline raise to three, and opted for the overbid rather than the underbid. His decision was reasonable, since so much hinges on whether the South cards fit, not whether he has a maximum as opposed to a minimum hand.

South would have stood no chance in four hearts if West had found the spade lead. Had he done so, the defenders would have had four winners to cash. Fortunately for South, West led the diamond jack, and now declarer could win the first diamond with the ace and immediately run his three top clubs in order to get rid of a losing spade. Having done so, a careless player might now have led trump, but that would have been fatal. East would have won the first trump trick, cashed the spade ace, and then would lead his last club.

Now West could ruff with the heart ace, and East would still get a second trump trick with the king. The defenders would score a total of three trump tricks and one spade, to defeat the contract.

South foiled this defensive plot by leading the fourth club himself before touching the trump, planning to discard his last spade if East followed suit or ruffed high. This effectively transposed defensive winners, but it meant the defenders could get their two trump tricks, and nothing else, when trumps broke 2-2.

I recommend playing take-out doubles here, though the alternative of cuebidding to show short diamonds and ask for a four-card major while denying a diamond stopper (if playing Lebensohl) is perfectly reasonable. The attraction of doubling is that once in a while you get to defend when it is right to do so. Also you may occasionally find your way to clubs.


♠ K J 6 5
 7 6 4 3
♣ K Q 8 7
South West North East
  Pass 1 NT 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Iain ClimieNovember 10th, 2016 at 10:10 pm

Hi Bobby,

Any idea if your new president plays the game or could be persuaded to do so? Mind you, would he ever let his partner play in NT?

I hope this is sufficiently tame and not in too bad taste as there will be widely differeing views about him and I certainly don’t want to turn this delightful column into a political bearpit; this is especially true after what the UK did to pollster’s predictions with Brexit. Only time will tell whether that decision was sensible.



Bobby WolffNovember 11th, 2016 at 12:39 am

Hi Iain,

Sure he would, if he could have obtained copies of the hand records early enough. Some are completely obsessed with winning and with three stops in each minor and the hearts being 2-2, not to mention West being dealt a diamond lead, why not?

Funny, my choice of any important leader is:

1. Patriotic to a fault
2. Understanding and experienced in life and its foibles.
3. Honesty in everything worthy of being.
4. Unquestioned loyalty by those close enough to matter (always by choice but also by their logic of what is good for them).
5. Normal, but not off the charts, intelligence.

Yes, I think he will grade sufficiently satisfactory but, as you say, time alone will tell, but, no doubt, his incentive to succeed will likely be off-the-charts to prove his doubters wrong.

Since I am not familiar with the detailed back and forth reasons the UK chose Brexit, I am in no position to offer anything close to a valid opinion.

The British are a very traditional and proud people and perhaps they felt their associations, and thus empire, or what is left of it, were going in the wrong direction.

In any event I have much compassion for what they have gone through and what they have done.

slarNovember 11th, 2016 at 1:07 am

It pains me that my beloved game was not a deviation from this wretched election cycle. The bad jokes, the “no trump” hats, etc. just made me want to crawl in a hole. And it came from all sides, from newbies to national champions. Ugh.

Bobby WolffNovember 11th, 2016 at 4:49 am

Hi Slar,

It is difficult to understand, even though Donald Trump has been a well known name, not until he ran for President, did all those horrible jokes emerge and mostly within the bridge world.

At least to me, and throughout the civilized world (if there is such a thing) the most challenging personal trait between the cultures seems to center itself with their vastly different senses of humor.

Oh well, the odds are still in favor of the sun coming up tomorrow and even the day after.