Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

Talent develops in quiet places, character in the full current of human life.

Johann von Goethe

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


All the deals this week come from the 2014 European Team Championships in Croatia. This one comes from the match between Bulgaria and Israel, the eventual winners of the event.

After East’s natural opening bid, Bulgaria’s Rossen Gunev (South) elected to double — despite his flawed holding in a minor — as his safest way into the auction. This isn’t gilt-edged, but it kept his side from being frozen out of the auction.

The North-South spade fit was thus located at once, and the Bulgarians even reached game, each of the players stretching just a little to get there. West duly led the heart nine to the queen and king.

Had East immediately continued with the diamond king, we would not have a story. Even cashing a second top heart and shifting to diamonds would have set the contract, since declarer would not have had the communication for an effective endplay against East. But when East played a third round of hearts instead, hoping no doubt to promote a trump for his partner, declarer seized his chance.

South ruffed high, crossed to dummy in trumps, ruffed the last heart high and drew West’s remaining trump, squeezing East out of his 13th heart in the process. After that, Gunev simply conceded a club to East and claimed his contract, since the diamond loser could be discarded on the clubs.

That was worth 12 IMPs to Bulgaria when their East-West pair bought the contract in two diamonds in the other room after a strong club opening, making nine tricks.

With marginal values, your singleton in partner’s suit should swing you away from inviting game at pairs. A two-no-trump advance would land you in the wrong spot too often. Playing teams, the lure of a vulnerable game might be too much to bear, though, in which case the two-no-trump call describes your general shape and values reasonably well.


♠ 4
 A K J 10 3
 K Q 10 6
♣ Q J 8
South West North East
1 Pass 1 ♠ Pass
2 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact