Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Was it a vision or a waking dream?
Fled is that music: — Do I wake or sleep?

John Keats

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

*Precision style


As Micke Melander reported from the World Championships in Lyon last year, all too often a bridge player will wake up in a cold sweat, having realized how he had gone down in a contract he should have made. When Sweden played Brazil in the Seniors, Anders Morath confessed his sins to the bulletin.

As South, you are in four spades on the lead of the diamond jack. When you ruff the opening lead and play the spade king, everybody follows small. What next?

Morath inferred that East had all the top diamonds, so West had the major-suit aces. Since trumps appeared to be 3-1, Morath cashed the three top clubs, pitching a diamond, then played a second trump, hoping he could play hearts from his hand for two losers. That wasn’t the case today.

He later realized he should have pitched a heart rather a diamond on the third club. He would then have been able to lead a fourth club and ruff it high in hand. If West over-ruffs, he can do no better than play a diamond, letting declarer ruff and lose just two hearts. If West discards instead of over-ruffing, South simply ruffs a diamond in dummy to lose one trump and two hearts again.

Morath said that to make matters worse, West’s initial pass with both major-suit aces and the diamond jack meant that East was very likely to hold the heart queen, since East-West open most 11-counts. So an alternative route to success would have been to run the heart jack at trick five.

This is a tricky bid. You have a minimum in terms of high cards, but a lot of tricks if your side has a club fit. I would gamble with an invitational call of three clubs, hoping partner can find another call if he has a maximum. (He could easily have up to 10 high-card points.) A bold call of three no-trump might also work!


♠ K 10 8
 J 9 8 5
♣ A K Q 6 4 2
South West North East
1 ♣ Pass 1 Pass
1 Pass 1 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


A.V. Ramana RaoSeptember 12th, 2018 at 12:28 pm

Hi Dar Mr. Wolff
Perhaps declarer should have ruffed the diamond lead with K in dummy and lead eight of spades . When east follows suit, south overtakes with nine and west is stuck. If he plays A , it is the end of defense and if he plays low, south ruffs his second and last diamond in dummy and plays clubs. Since west has threeclubs and remainng trumps, south prevails easily

A.V.Ramana RaoSeptember 12th, 2018 at 12:36 pm

First line should read Dear Mr. Wolff
Hazards of sending messages from Ipad wherein typos can crop up
Sorry and regards

bobbywolffSeptember 12th, 2018 at 4:43 pm


Yes, to ruff the first diamond with the king, gives declarer more flexibility. He still has to risk 2-2 trumps when he, after the spade to hand is ducked, but at least it seems more coordinated.

Yes, my wife Judy has fallen in love with her Ipad but typos also crop up with her. They will, no doubt, continue to make them better, allowing fewer errors typing, and, after all, by doing so, it will probably create more sales for them. No dummies them!

Thanks for your post.

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