Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 15th, 2019

Women and music should never be dated.

Oliver Goldsmith

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


When West opened one diamond, it was passed around to South, who upgraded his spotcards and stretched to balance with two no-trump to show a balanced 19-20. North also took an aggressive position by raising. Still, despite North-South having just a combined 23-count, game had decent play.

Declarer won the spade king lead and went after hearts while his communications were still open. West took the heart king and cashed the spade jack, East following upward. Placing a spade stopper with South, West could count eight tricks for declarer once the spade queen was knocked out. As South was also likely to have diamonds stopped, he ninth trick could easily come from an endplay. Had West defended passively, by exiting with a heart, declarer could set up his spade winner, then strip all of West’s cards except diamonds, and next lead that suit from dummy. Because of his diamond nine, declarer could duck the lead to West for a diamond return into his tenace.

So, West attacked dummy’s entry before South could cash the spades. He shifted to the club 10, taken by the king. Declarer unblocked his heart honors and advanced the spade eight. However, West took the queen and played another club to dummy’s ace. Declarer could throw a diamond on the heart jack, but then had to tackle diamonds. He played to his nine, but West won the diamond jack and exited safely with a spade. The diamond king scored the setting trick.

Bid two diamonds. A one no-trump advance should show just a little more in the way of high cards here. Besides, with only one quick stopper in the unbid suit and nothing in your own suit, which partner is probably short in, one no-trump will not play well. Two diamonds should be the right part-score and may serve to slow partner down as well as anything.


♠ 9 2
 J 4 3 2
 7 6 2
♣ A 8 7 5
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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Iain ClimieNovember 29th, 2019 at 10:32 am

HI Bobby,

East isn’t irrelevant here either. The D8 and 9 might be the other way round so, if the line you suggested without the club switch had occurred, East should rise with the D10 to help stop an endplay. Rubbish cards are no excuse for dozing off!



A V Ramana RaoNovember 29th, 2019 at 3:52 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Brilliant defense by West . On return of any other card instead of a club after winning heart A , South will have tempo to strip West of his exit card making the contract. Well played West

Bobby WolffNovember 29th, 2019 at 5:51 pm

Hi Iain,

Spoken like a true expert bridge teacher.

When using what ifs, instead of actual suit combinations which occurred, the student will be more attentive rather than the discussion of an actual hand where the student did not rise to the occasion.

Somehow nature has endowed in almost all of us a protective nature of defending ourselves, which is to be expected, except for the humanity of disliking (or worse) to having it apply to the last hand played or even one which physically occurred soon before.

You also are very much aware of not accusing anyone specifically of any fairly serious omission or commission involving a bridge mistake.

All the above enters into, at least IMO. of being a more effective teacher, to which I wish I would like to become.

Bobby WolffNovember 29th, 2019 at 5:55 pm


Yes, and for kudos we can think of West as a very complete bridge expert, at least on this hand, and also one which indicates he is very familiar (even on defense) where all the cards are, while carefully defending this hand.

Thanks for reminding us of this, before that hand becomes cold.

No doubt, a player to be emulated, if one wants to aspire to move up the ranks.