Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, June 12th, 2017

In life as in a football game, the principle is: Hit the line hard.

Theodore Roosevelt

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


This week’s deals all come from the 2016 European Championships, held in Budapest, in the scenic setting of a football stadium. The crowds were somewhat smaller than might have been the case at a soccer game, but one cannot have everything.

Host nation Hungary was on Vugraph on day one, and were somewhat fortunate to escape with a small pick-up here instead of a large loss, when in one room Romania bought the contract in two spades by West, down a trick.

Meanwhile, in the other room after the auction shown here, where North’s second double simply showed extras with no clear call, the Romanian South took a flyer at three no-trump, and bought a very suitable lie of the cards for his choice. Gabor Winkler led a low spade, and declarer won in hand and played a diamond, won by West’s ace.

South took the third round of spades in hand, and led a diamond to the king, followed by the diamond jack …and East, who had started life with queen-fourth of diamonds, thoughtfully ducked it. That was curtains for declarer, when the heart finesse was wrong, since he no longer had enough entries to hand to establish diamonds. Of course with the sight of all four hands we would all have unblocked the diamond jack under the ace at trick two, wouldn’t we?

(For the record, declarer could have recovered by taking the club finesse when in hand with the second spade, but his actual play made perfect sense; it just didn’t work.)

Your partner’s double calls for a diamond lead. It sounds like he has four or more decent diamonds and a possible entry on the side. Your choice is whether to lead the low diamond or the jack. Since you appear to have two possible entries on the side I would lead the low diamond, just in case declarer has a singleton honor.


♠ 9 8 2
 Q 10 2
 J 6 4
♣ J 10 7 6
South West North East
  1 Pass 1
Pass 1 ♠ Pass 2 NT
Pass 3 NT Dbl. 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


A V Ramana RaoJune 26th, 2017 at 9:39 am

Dear Mr. Wolff
When south led a low diamond and A appeared from west , perhaps he should have unblocked J from dummy which can never lose as south has 10 & 9 thereby prevailing

A V Ramana RaoJune 26th, 2017 at 9:45 am

Sorry. I posted without reading fully

Bobby WolffJune 26th, 2017 at 1:02 pm


Yes, and a special kudos to the players who do such things (unblock at crucial times) when, of course, it may be necessary.

While and of course, today’s hand is a good lesson mirroring a long time ago popular song, “Little Things Mean A Lot”, in bridge such necessities apply, no doubt, it is much more fluid and therefore easier to make those plays when it just “feels” right, an emotion which a few, not anywhere near everyone, is born with and becomes much more natural with experience.

However, even without, it can be learned, but to do so requires total focus on the specific hand, forbidding oneself from taking anything for granted.

Thanks AVRR, for your input.

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