Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, September 14th, 2018

The place where optimism flourishes most is the lunatic asylum.

Havelock Ellis

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

*Spade raise


The finals of the Yeh Bros teams event (with a prize of $100,000 going to the winners) was between two North American teams, ones that included Canadians, Poles and Dutchmen. Eric Kokish’s team led all the way and won fairly comfortably, but here is a swing created almost out of nowhere for the team captained by Jacek Pszczola, known to the world as Pepsi for fairly obvious reasons.

Both tables played three spades on a low diamond lead. Both declarers put in the eight, and both Easts (Michal Nowosadzki and Fred Gitelman) false-carded with the queen! Nicely done by both Easts. In each case, declarer won the ace, but maybe the declarer for the Kokish team took his eye off the ball, knowing he was comfortably placed.

He played a top trump, and Jacek Kalita, who had led the diamond seven (second from three), won the spade ace to play a second diamond, the five. Declarer put in dummy’s 10, and Nowosadzki won to play a trump, then got in with the club king to cash out his side’s heart tricks for down one.

For the Pepsi team, Eric Greco did not relax at trick two. He played the heart queen out of his hand, and when a club came through, he finessed the queen. Back came a trump to the king and ace, and a diamond switch. He went up with the king to play a second heart and now could not be stopped from ruffing a heart in dummy for his ninth trick.

That was five well-earned IMPs for Pepsi’s team.

I’d be inclined to bid two diamonds now, mainly to try to keep the auction open in case partner has a good hand or can produce delayed heart support. I’d guess the 5-2 heart fit might be our most likely game, but if partner has a singleton heart, two diamonds feels like the safest part-score.


♠ A
 A J 10 8 3
 9 7 5
♣ J 9 5 2
South West North East
  1 ♣ 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


Shantanu RastogiSeptember 28th, 2018 at 9:39 am

Hello Mr Wolff

I think Greco’s line also works if EW are able to play 3 rounds of trumps after heart queen. Say west wins Heart A, cashes Spade Ace and plays a club Q is finessed ,only because West can hold King, and east wins to play another trump and gets in with Heart to play third trump. Now Greco can ruff out diamond to see if D J falls and when it doesnt he takes club 10 finesse to make his contract.

best regards

Shantanu Rastogi

A .V. Ramana RaoSeptember 28th, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
But why did not west cash A of trumps before returning club. Now the contract must fail because if declarer finesses, east wins and returns trump and later wins the second heart and returns trump again.
Perhaps declarer could have won the first trick with K in dummy and lead a heart with the reasoning that if spades are 2-2, there is no problem . (The chance of diamond lead being singleton can virtually be ruled out as with a six carded suit east would have coe into auction) South hopes that if east wins heart, ( his double of two spades indicated some values)he cannot attack clubs and if west wins and cashes spade A, only hope is for club finesse to succeed and south always prevails if west switches to clubs without cashing spade A

A . V . Ramana RaoSeptember 28th, 2018 at 2:05 pm

Sorry , I did not read the post from Shantanu before my post
Well done Shantanu

Ken MooreSeptember 28th, 2018 at 6:11 pm


2 Spades doubled is game. So South bid to 3 Spades to shout out another bid. Right?