Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, March 16th, 2018

This is not the end; it is not the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning.

William Churchill

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


One of my regular correspondents published this deal from his first round loss in the 2017 Vanderbilt Trophy in Kansas City, Missouri. Both tables received the same lead against four spades. However, one team made the wrong play but recovered to take home the bacon, while the other team started well but ended up sleeping with the fishes.

After the heart king lead against four spades, both declarers won the heart ace, though ducking might be right. Both now played the spade queen-jack, ducked, to get the good-bad news. What next?

At one table, declarer played the club queen, and when West won to play the heart queen, the defense was now over. What would have been better? West must play the diamond queen instead of the heart queen. Declarer can win the diamond king to lead a heart, but West takes this and plays the diamond jack, allowing East to pitch his last heart. Curtains for declarer!

In the other room, South correctly played the heart nine after discovering the 4-1 trump split. West won and shifted to the diamond queen. How should declarer have played?

To avoid the killing defense seen in the other room, South should win the diamond king, lead a spade to the nine, ruff his last heart in dummy and lead a low club to the king. If this holds, declarer will draw trumps, so West takes his ace and forces South with a heart. Declarer ruffs, crosses to a club and leads a diamond toward his hand. East can score only his trump trick.

Facing a balancing double, the cue-bid does not normally promise a second call facing any minimum action by the doubler. So here, a call of two spades by you would not be forcing, and since you do not have anything more than a minimum opener, there is no reason to drive to game. With an extra queen you might cue-bid to set up a game force.


♠ Q J 10 2
 A 9
 K 7 6 5
♣ Q J 2
South West North East
  1 Pass Pass
Dbl. 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Patrick CheuMarch 30th, 2018 at 10:37 am

Hi Bobby,Re BWTA,If South has QJTx Ax KJxx QJx or QJTx Ax Kxxx KJx,3S to invite? Regards~Patrick.

Bruce karlsonMarch 30th, 2018 at 12:14 pm

‘William Churchill” ? Sir Winston’s previously unknown ghost writer? Surprised we have not yet heard from across the pond regarding William.

Bill CubleyMarch 30th, 2018 at 1:43 pm


Bobby was thinking of me. There is a hamlet (too small to be a village) in Derbyshire named Great Cubley. 😉

While I hope Bobby will confirm this theory I expect the usual correction. Please go see “Darkest Hour.” It is very good about Winston Churchill.

Bobby WolffMarch 30th, 2018 at 2:21 pm

Hi Patrick,

Your query is a question, which quietly and quixotically travels quickly to the quirk.

Methinks, though methodically, and minutely, the mention of a minuscule more is not much motivation, to move to momentum, mostly meaning to a mine-field, minus manner.

Bobby WolffMarch 30th, 2018 at 2:49 pm

Hi Bruce and Bill,

Judy and I recently saw the “Darkest Hour” and loved it.

No doubt “Winnie” deserved winning a glorious award he received, no doubt posthumously, as the leading world figure of the 20th Century, by, playing such an enormous part in motivating the Brits to NEVER (of course during WWII in May, 1940), even in the face of enormous negative odds, to accept defeat and surrender.

However, during the movie there was absolutely no mention of William Churchill making me, though quite sadly, to ponder, how soon we forget and Winston become William.

Please forgive and next time I visit London, I’ll be sure to visit in Derbyshire the “Great Cubley”.

Iain ClimieMarch 30th, 2018 at 4:46 pm

Hi Bobby,

Gremlins again, I suspect, although I should have spotted this. Also remember that Churchill’s mum was American while Wallis Simpson unexpectedly helped Britain. Edward VIII was a Nazi sympathiser (!) but was forced to give up the British throne to marry Mrs. Simpson. The country might have been very awkwardly placed constitutionally if he had stayed as King, even though his actual power was limited.

Britain as its quirky pace names including (honestly) Pratts Bottom in Kent. I even went out with a girl from there many, many years ago.



Bobby WolffMarch 30th, 2018 at 5:51 pm

Hi Iain,

Wallis Simpson was possibly the first name I learned to remember when my parents found for me my first dog, when both the dog (a beautiful Belgium Shepard) and I were almost exactly the same age, four, and was then named Wally Simpson, in honor of the soon abdicated British King’s new wife.

Even today, few years since, I sometimes wake up in horror when I dream of squirting Wally with the garden hose (a torture I am still ashamed of) and one poor Wally obviously hated.

Oh well, I always heard that confessions are good for the soul.

Also, perhaps those quirky village names are helpful on one’s brain as he tries to remember the beauties he meets along life’s journey.

LeomaApril 4th, 2018 at 4:00 am

Não há jeito fácil para se perder peso rápido.