Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, October 31st, 2019

Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem, in my opinion, to characterize our age.

Albert Einstein

S North
E-W ♠ A 10
 Q 10 7 6 4
 K 10 6 2
♣ Q 8
West East
♠ 8 4
 9 3
 A J 3
♣ A K 9 7 5 2
♠ Q 9 5
 J 8 5 2
 Q 8 5
♣ J 4 3
♠ K J 7 6 3 2
 A K
 9 7 4
♣ 10 6
South West North East
1 ♠ 2 ♣ 2 Pass
2 ♠ Pass 3 ♠ Pass
4 ♠ All pass    


North-South bid to a pushy four-spade contract here when South up-valued his heart honors in his partner’s suit and, expecting the missing club honors to be on his left, bid one more for the road.

After cashing the top clubs and receiving an odd count-signal from his partner, West found the excellent defense of the diamond ace and another diamond, attacking the late entry to dummy. West’s defense was based on the fact that East had followed with his lowest club at his second turn, suggesting more interest in the lower of the red suits.

Upon winning with the diamond king, declarer saw he needed to dispose of his remaining diamond on a heart. One line was to unblock the heart ace-king, finesse the spade 10 and cash the spade ace before playing the heart queen. That would succeed when West had the spade queen and either hearts were 3-3 or West had doubletons in each major. For this to work, assuming the clubs were 6-3 as the carding had suggested, West would need to have only two spades.

If that were the case, East would have the long spades, which made it more likely that the spade queen was on declarer’s right. Looking at each player’s cards outside the club suit supported that reasoning, East having 10 unknown cards to West’s seven.

So declarer called for the spade 10 from dummy at trick five and let it run. He then unblocked the top hearts and returned to the spade ace to throw his remaining diamond on the heart queen. When West was unable to ruff, the game was home.

With little hope of game opposite a passed partner, your priorities should shift toward pre-empting the opponents with a weak twospade opening. Partner is aware that you could have this much in third chair and is not banned from competing or inviting game with a fitting hand, so this sound tactical maneuver does not have all that much to lose.


♠ K J 7 6 3 2
 A K
 9 7 4
♣ 10 6
South West North East
    Pass 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


Bobby WolffNovember 14th, 2019 at 3:43 pm

To all,

While the description of today’s hand will definitely not be clear to readers who are directly looking at the placement of the EW cards, the last part of the text merely describes the likely position of the defensive hands which would lead to a two trick set.

No doubt, our placement of that dastardly spade queen (with East) muddles up the longer shot description of a well thought out line of play which failed, but nevertheless (assuming that excellent defense by EW by his informative 2nd club, the four instead of the jack).

Perhaps we should have placed the queen of spades (doubeton) with West to reward the competent declarer play, but for whatever reason we did not.

However, sometimes in later discussions, a bridge partnership (this time NS, the declaring side) will concentrate on what would have worked, instead of the realism which did. In this case full credit should go to EW for their resounding success with their diamond switch and continuation.

However, apologies from me are in order for the likely exclusion of at least some mention of the result, in spite of declarer’s sound effort.

Next time we will put the queen of spades doubleton in the West hand, if, for no other reason, than it was extraordinarily good offensive and defensive play, but what always happens, the impossibility of the result leading to two cigars, one for each side, except for the greater feeling (who am I kidding?) of a great operation, but unfortunately, the patient died.

Bobby WolffNovember 14th, 2019 at 4:11 pm

Hi again everyone,

The above comment was strictly a spoof, since declarer did allow the spade 10 to run from dummy, proving the world is likely not flat.

Sadly, I’ll totally admit to such a travesty, but it only proves certain fallibility since, again for whatever reason, I, although this column was written about six months ago, didn’t devote enough concentration while re-reading it.

Sorry for my creating time wasting malarkey for many readers. However, it may give some solace for any and all serious bridge players who commit costly gaffes and have nothing left to do but apologize to partners and sometimes teammates.

My tail has stopped wagging.