Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Courage consists not in blindly overlooking danger, but in seeing it, and conquering it.

Jean Paul

E North
None ♠ A J 9 7
 K J 9 6 2
♣ A 9 2
West East
♠ 6 3
 K Q J 8 5
   4 2
♣ Q 10 6 3
♠ 4 2
 A Q 10 7 5
♣ K J 7 5
♠ K Q 10 8 5
 10 9 7 6
 8 4
♣ 8 4
South West North East
1 ♠ 4 4 ♠ Dbl.
All pass      


When the USA women won the world Olympiad in 1996 they had to come back from a huge deficit against Austria; this was one of their big gains.

Both tables played four spades doubled here. At one table Jill Blanchard as West found the good shot of a trump lead. The Chinese declarer took this in hand and played the diamond eight. Blanchard ruffed and played a club, and now her partner Irina Levitina could get in to play a second trump. Declarer could no longer establish a diamond trick, and declarer had just seven trump tricks, a club and a heart.

In the other room Juanita Chambers got a top heart lead and advanced the diamond jack from dummy. East pounced on that with the queen, but from here on in the defense could no longer set the contract. Although East could shift to a trump, declarer could build a diamond trick, using her diamond eight one way or another. But had East been able to bring herself to duck the first diamond, her partner could have ruffed and returned a trump, and now Chambers would have been one trick short as well.

Declarers should have crossed to hand with a trump at trick two to lead her LOW diamond. Now if West ruffs, the remaining diamond spots are good enough to establish a trick; if West discards, the play transposes into Chambers’ successful line. Should East win the first diamond and play back a low diamond for her partner to ruff, declarer can switch to a cross-ruff.

Sometimes it is best to bid what is in front of you. Your partner has suggested five good clubs (or maybe even a poor six-card suit) in a balanced 12-14 hand. If you were only allowed to make one bid wouldn’t you jump to six clubs? You might make a grand slam, or find the small slam was on a finesse, but here you should just settle for simplicity and bid the small slam.


♠ A J 9 7
 K J 9 6 2
♣ A 9 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♣ Pass
1 Pass 1 NT Pass
2 ♠ Pass 3 ♣ 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