Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, June 25, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: None

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


South West North East
1 Pass 2* Pass
3 Pass 3 Pass
4 Pass 4 Pass
4 NT Pass 5** Pass
6 All Pass    
**One ace, counting the trump king as an ace

Opening Lead: King

“I did not choose thee, dearest. It was love

That made the choice, not I. Mine eyes were blind.”

— Wilfrid Blunt

Today’s deal comes from the Open Teams tournament at the European Open Championships from San Remo last year.


As so often happens, the first board was a defining moment – here, in a match between a French and a Dutch squad. After an auction in which North had shown diamonds artificially at his first turn, South reached the decent diamond slam, having managed to get the contract declared from the better side.


Michel Bessis of France led the heart king, and East, his son Thomas Bessis, surmised that South was unlikely to have bid slam with two heart losers, especially after North had denied a heart control. Accordingly, Thomas overtook the heart king with the ace and switched to the club eight.


At this stage South had to guess whether spades were behaving — i.e. whether either defender held a doubleton or tripleton spade queen. If so, South had to win the club ace and establish the spades to make his contract. If spades were not behaving, declarer had to take the club finesse. Without the fine play by East, declarer would have had the luxury of testing the spades first, and if that failed, he could have fallen back on the club finesse. He got it wrong — and regardless of whether he played with the odds or not, one must credit East’s defense for giving South the chance to err.


In the other room declarer brought home the slam from the North seat on a high spot-card club lead, so that was a huge swing for the Bessis team.

ANSWER: I’m not convinced that a double would always work here, but I hate to let the opponents play the hand at the one-level if I have a chance to act. If I were not a passed hand, I would not be brave enough to bid; as it is, I would double and hope that my partner can take a joke.


South Holds:

Q 8 7
A 10 8 2
8 7 4 3 2


South West North East
Pass 1 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 2010. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact