Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: None

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


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening Lead:3

“You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all the time.”

— Abraham Lincoln

Some players hate to go down in a contract they might have made by using a technically sound line. Others would always rather go for what they consider the best practical line and not worry about looking silly. Consider today’s deal from the finals of the Yeh Brother’s Cup last year as a classic example of the two different approaches.


Both Souths reached three no-trump after North had opened a Precision club, keeping East out of the bidding. Both Wests led an attitude spade three. (The smaller the card, the more they liked the suit.)


For the Dutch, Bas Drijver preferred to play the best technical line (hoping that spades would be 4-3 or that there would be a doubleton double-honor in the East hand to prevent the defenders from running four tricks there). He therefore rose with the spade ace and knocked out the heart ace. When the spade suit refused to run for the defenders, he had his nine tricks.


By contrast, the Swedish declarer, true to his nature, went for the psychological line of ducking the first spade. If spades were continued, he would be no worse off and might be much better off. (Consider East with an initial holding of the doubleton spade queen, for example.) Alas for him, East could see that his partner had a near Yarborough and realized that his only chance was to find the club queen in the West hand. He shifted to a club at trick two and defeated the game by two tricks.

ANSWER: Had East passed one heart, you might have passed yourself. Game can hardly be good if partner does not have enough to double. But once the opponents compete, here you should raise to two hearts obstructively. Do not let the opponents have a clear run if you can impede them with little or no risk.


South Holds:

10 9 8
Q 7 5
A J 8 5
10 9 8


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