Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap rhythms for bears to dance to.

Gustave Flaubert

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


Goldilocks has now completed her training at bridge, and has advanced to competing at the duplicate. Papa Bear expansively invited her to play with him, “So she could see how the experts play.” Keeping her doubts under firm check, Goldilocks accepted with as much grace as she could, and was privileged to watch him get his paws on the dummy, often with singular lack of success. In four hearts, he won the opening club lead in dummy, led a club to the ace, and tried to ruff a club in dummy. East over-ruffed and led a spade to his partner. A fourth club sank the contract without trace, when East could over-ruff.

Mama Bear improved on that line at her table. She won the club lead in dummy to lead a club to her hand, then ducked a spade to cut the defenders’ communications for immediate ruffs. Now when a third club came through she ruffed in dummy and was over-ruffed, but she was still in decent shape. She would have survived had trumps broken, or had East held a singleton. But not today.

Baby Bear showed how it should be done. The club queen went to the king, and he next led to the club ace. Now came a third club, throwing a diamond from dummy. When West led a fourth club, declarer threw a second diamond, rather than ruff.

West shifted to a diamond, and declarer won in hand, drew two rounds of trump and ruffed his diamond loser in dummy for his 10th trick.

You have a stark choice here. Pass the two no-trump opening bid or transfer into spades, after which you can pass, or offer a choice of games with a call of three no-trump. I prefer to start with a transfer, but I would plan to pass the completion of the transfer. This doesn’t have to be right, however since partner can always break the transfer with a super fit, I’ll settle for partscore if he doesn’t.


♠ J 10 7 5 4
 6 4 2
 Q 6 4
♣ 8 4
South West North East
  Pass 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact