Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, December 23rd, 2017

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.

Winston Churchill

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


On this deal from the 1998 Life Master Pairs, there were two fine plays on the same deal. One play was by a defender, and one by declarer. Let’s start with the defense.

Against four spades, Jeff Aker as West led the heart jack to declarer’s queen. South played a diamond to the ace and East’s 10, then drew two rounds of trumps. Now came three top clubs, throwing a heart from dummy, followed by a low diamond from hand. Aker rose with the king, swallowing up his partner’s queen, a Crocodile Coup. He cashed his diamond, then played a heart to his partner’s ace for down one. Declarer’s line required a defensive error or a seriously blocked diamond suit, but could he have done better?

At another table, Susan Wexler also declared four spades, on the lead of the heart jack. She won her queen and advanced a low diamond, ducking in dummy when West followed small. She won the club return, took her diamond ace, then cashed the top trumps and her two club winners, to throw a heart from dummy. Now when she exited with the heart king, both declarer and dummy had only spades and diamonds left, and East was on lead with only hearts and clubs to lead. Regardless of he did, declarer could ruff the return in dummy and throw away her losing diamond from hand.

This is an incomplete elimination. The defenders have a winning diamond and a trump left, with declarer needing to find West rather than East with both key-cards.

You have more than enough to accept the invitation to game, but here your diamonds are good enough to look for slam in diamonds if that is what partner has in mind. Bid four diamonds to let partner decide whether to go on past game. If he signs off, respect his decision.


♠ 10 6 2
 K 5 4
 A 9 7 4 3
♣ J 7
South West North East
  Pass 1 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