Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 8th, 2018

Drop the question of what tomorrow may bring, and count as profit every day that Fate allows you.


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


Today’s deal sees a very neat defense against a three-no-trump contract from a pairs event at the end of the most recent NEC tournament in Yokohama last year.

Dawei Chen, playing with Takahiko Hirata, found the natural lead of a low spade to his partner’s king and declarer’s ace. South led a diamond toward the ace, and Chen played the jack. Declarer took the ace and led a diamond back to the nine and Chen’s 10 (probably an error in theory as well as in practice, since your best chance of playing diamonds for one loser is the actual layout). That gave the defenders a slim chance of success, and Chen was quick to take advantage of it.

He sensibly inferred that for declarer to be playing on diamonds rather than clubs, he rated to have a singleton club. So he shifted to a low club, and Hirata did extremely well to play low. The bare club ace was forced to take the trick, and declarer played a third diamond, letting Hirata win and unblock his club jack as South pitched a spade. Now East advanced a heart honor, which was ducked all around.

Hirata now exited with his second top heart to lock declarer either out of his hand or dummy. The best move for declarer would have been to win the third heart in hand with his nine, but he would then have had to concede trick 13. Declarer ran the hearts from the top and finished two down, representing a top for North-South.

Do you bid two spades or three spades? (Go to the back of the class if you did more.) Your partner normally has a balanced 12-14, relatively short in hearts, so your honors in that suit won’t be working. On that basis, it seems clear that you should make a simple raise to two spades. Anytime partner has extras, he will be unbalanced and will bid on, so you ought to be able to reach game whenever it is making.


♠ K 9 7 2
 Q J 7 5
 K 8 6
♣ J 3
South West North East
    1 ♣ Pass
1 Pass 1 ♠ 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