Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 16, 2009



Vul: N/S

9 6 5
A 4
K Q 9 4 3 2
West East
J 9 4 2 5
Q J 7 K 10 8 4 3
K 9 5 3 J 6 2
10 6 J 8 7 5
Q 10 8 7 6 3
A 2
Q 10 8 7


South West North East
  1 Pass
1 Pass 3 Pass
3 Pass 3 Pass
4NT Pass 5 Pass
6 All pass    

Opening Lead: Q

“Attempt the end, and never stand to doubt; Nothing’s so hard but search will find it out.”

— Robert Herrick

A rubber bridge player at the Dyspeptics Club never really knows what he is letting himself in for. Yet he can always rely on South to hold far more than his share of the high cards, though according to him, it is just because he gets more out of them.

In fact, in today’s deal North was an outsider. With a difficult call at his third turn, he suggested that he had three-card spade support, and that was enough to get South into the stratosphere via Blackwood.

On the lead of the heart queen, South won in hand, unblocked the club ace, then took the spade ace and king. Next, he accurately cashed the club king, pitching a heart, and ruffed a club, preparing to clear the trumps and claim the rest. However, West overruffed and, after prolonged thought, shifted to a diamond. South had no choice but to run this to his hand; when his diamond queen won, he drew trumps and took the balance.

While North was congratulating his partner, West made the mistake of saying there was nothing he could have done to set the slam. That gave East the chance to tell him that while there was nothing HE could have done, anyone who understood bridge would have prevailed on defense. Do you see why?

When in with his trump trick, West must shift to the diamond KING. This dislodges dummy’s entry, and eventually the defenders collect a diamond or trump trick whatever South does.

ANSWER: It is easy to decide you have a bad hand — but remember that partner knew that you were weak when he invited game. In that context you have a GREAT hand. Bid four hearts, confident that you have something to spare (if you trust your partner, that is).


South Holds:

K 10 8 4 3
J 6 2
J 8 7 5


South West North East
1 Dbl. Pass
2 Pass 3 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 2009. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact

1 Comment

David FuNovember 27th, 2014 at 1:24 am

Dear Mr. Wolff,

Greetings from Taiwan. I played bridge game when I was 15 years old. Now, I am 67. Bridge is my lifetime hobby.

I chase your column every morning. Keep 20 minutes on your articles.

One suggestion : On the BID WITH ACES area, move the ANSWER below the question will give the readers more space & time to consider the solution.

Bridge Addictor Taiwan