Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, June 23rd, 2017

All deception in the course of life is indeed nothing else but a lie reduced to practice, and falsehood passing from words into things.

Robert Southey

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


Today’s deal comes from the 2017 match between England and Ireland in the UK home internationals series. Tony Forrester found a highly imaginative defense here, to defeat a cold game.

In one room the English pair had stayed out of game, and had played three spades. So the Irish looked likely to pick up a sizeable swing when they bid to the delicate four heart contract.

Forrester kicked off with the spade king, and when it held he shifted to the diamond queen, in case declarer held the singleton jack. Declarer, John Carroll played a trump now. When his king won, he ruffed his losing diamond in hand and played a second trump to the ace.

Now Forrester’s partner David Bakhshi won, and returned a diamond. Carroll took this, and drew the last trump, then had to decide which black suit to develop. Since Bakhshi had suggested an even number of spades at the first trick, it looked as if spades were 4-2. So Carroll discarded two spades from his hand, and played a club to the ace. So far so good, but when Tony Forrester dropped the club king under the ace it led declarer up the garden path.

Carroll took this card at face value, and played Bakhshi to have started with precisely 3=3=3=4 shape. He cashed the spade ace, ruffed a spade in dummy, and in the three-card ending exited with a club from dummy, attempting to endplay East in clubs. However, when Bakhshi won the club he could lead a diamond, and let Forrester win the last two tricks.

In the olden days I would have responded two no-trump here without a second thought. I can, however, see that with a hand that is a clear slam-try facing whatever suit my partner has, I might be better advised to temporize with two diamonds. If my partner has a two-suiter with spades, this saves valuable space.


♠ 9 3
 K Q 10 7
 K 9 8
♣ Q 7 4 3
South West North East
    2 ♣ 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