Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, January 26th, 2019

It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.

James Thurber

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


At last year’s Yeh Bros. tournament, both North-South pairs bid to four spades here, and they could have doubled their opponents if they had dared to bid on.

In one room, West sacrificed in five hearts doubled; the defenders took their club ruff, then played a top spade. What would you do now? If you tested trumps before ruffing a diamond in dummy, you weren’t quite careful enough. That was what our West did. North was able to pitch spades on the third and fourth diamonds, so though declarer could ruff his diamond loser and unblock the heart ace, he was locked in dummy and had to concede a trump promotion against himself for minus 800. (You have to play three rounds of diamonds without touching trump at all in order to escape for two down.)

In four spades doubled in the other room, the defenders led two rounds of hearts, and South ruffed. Like his teammate, he innocently played a top trump, which should have proved fatal.

He next crossed to dummy in clubs to lead the spade jack — ducked by East, of course — then ran the diamond six around to the queen and ace. West could force declarer in hearts once more, but when East took his diamond king, he did not have a fourth heart left to tap declarer for the last and critical time. So the contract came home. East would have had to fly up with the diamond king on the lead of dummy’s six, to continue with hearts. That would have let his partner play the fatal fourth round of hearts when in with the diamond ace.

In real life, you know what is going to happen next, don’t you? Your left-hand opponent is going to bid spades, and your side will be defending against game or part-score in that strain. That said, what do you want your partner to lead? A club, of course. In this auction, many people play that whether you are a passed hand or not, a call of three clubs here shows heart tolerance and asks for a club lead. Perfect!


♠ J 9 8
 10 9 2
 10 6
♣ A K 10 8 3
South West North East
    2 Dbl.

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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Iain ClimieFebruary 10th, 2019 at 12:54 am

Hi Bobby,

Assuming IMPs rather than point a board, this is a spectacular way to get a flat board: 790 vs 800!



Bobby WolffFebruary 10th, 2019 at 4:54 am

Hi Iain,

Oh yeah! From the sublime to the ridiculous. How about recently +1390 vs. -1400 a push at IMPs a loss at matchpoiints.

GloryFebruary 14th, 2019 at 2:46 am

Is Hawaii overrated? YES its method over rated,,,,
You have just as good seashores along the gulf in Texas,
the west coast and Mexico.. Hawaii is way over priced and is a tourist trap..