Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Satisfaction does not come with achievement, but with effort. Full effort is full victory.

Mahatma Gandhi

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


It is always satisfying when, at an early stage of the deal, you can work out the likely shape and honor structure of the unseen hands, and defend accordingly.

When Sweden took on Monaco at the 2014 European Championships, Fredrik Nystrom for Sweden opened the East hand with one club, a call that could have been made on as few as two clubs. The South player for Monaco overcalled one no-trump, and that ended the auction.

Johan Upmark started by cashing the heart ace, which in his partnership methods asked for attitude. On receipt of an encouraging card signal from East, he continued with the heart king, then the jack, declarer discarding a diamond from dummy.

Upmark now knew South had four hearts and surely four spades, since that suit would almost certainly be 4-4-4-1 around the table. Since South would have doubled (instead of bidding one no-trump) with doubleton clubs, he must surely have three clubs — and therefore could hold only a doubleton in diamonds.

So Upmark got off lead with a low diamond, and East won with the ace, collecting the king from declarer. Nystrom next cashed his heart queen and returned a diamond, taken by South’s queen, but setting up West’s jack in the process.

Declarer now had five clubs to cash plus the diamond trick he had already scored, but there was no way he could set up a spade or diamond winner before the defenders could cash out for down one.

A simple one here. Jump to three no-trump to offer a choice of games. Even if partner has four hearts, he might pass if his values are outside the heart suit — which is what you want, of course. You can explore with a call of two spades, but this time the direct approach is better.


♠ K J 7 5
 10 9 6 2
 K Q
♣ K Q J
South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 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