Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 20, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: None



9 5

A Q 10 8 6 3 2

K 8 5


7 4

K 8 4 3

K 5

A 7 4 3 2


A K J 10 8 6 3


7 4

J 9 6


Q 9 5

A Q J 10 6 2

J 9

Q 10


South West North East
  Pass Pass 3
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: 7

“I’m tired of Love; I’m still more tired of Rhyme.

But Money gives me pleasure all the time.”

— Hilaire Belloc

The first BOLS brilliancy prize went to Ron Klinger, who seized his opportunity at the 1976 World Team Olympiad in Monte Carlo. Against four hearts Klinger as West led a spade, and hoping to cut down declarer’s ruffs, East switched to a trump. Declarer played the queen because he wanted to be in his hand if West ducked. Klinger made the first essential play for the defense when he played low. Had he won the heart king, declarer would have made his contract with no problems because he could simply have drawn trumps and taken the diamond finesse. At trick three, declarer ruffed a spade, removing West’s last card in the suit, and guessed to play a club to his queen rather than to the 10. West won the ace and returned a club to dummy’s king. Declarer now ruffed a club and played the heart ace and jack. At this point, Klinger found the only play to defeat the contract: he switched to the diamond king! This severed declarer’s communications. He could win in dummy and come to hand with the diamond jack to draw West’s last trump, but then he would have to lose a spade at the end. If, as happened in practice, declarer played three rounds of diamonds to discard his spade loser, West would make his heart eight.

On any other return, declarer would have been able to win in hand, draw the last trump, and run diamonds to discard his spade loser.


South Holds:

7 4
K 8 4 3
K 5
A 7 4 3 2


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 1 Pass
ANSWER: Ask yourself, is this a hand with which you wish to invite game, facing a balanced 12-14? I’d say no; you could persuade me to the contrary with a couple of working intermediates. However, this hand is so bare that the absence of a fit would persuade me to go low with a call of one no-trump rather than an invitational two no-trump.


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


Paul BetheSeptember 3rd, 2010 at 8:38 pm

This was a beautiful defense, but I have a comment about declarer’s play.

West would lead an honor from Hx, so East is marked with AKJxxxx

With another Ace or King, East would probably open either 1 or 4, but not 3. Therefore West is marked with KH KD AC.

So, declarer should visualize this exact defense whenever west is stiff or doubleton in diamonds, and realize that finessing the for the Jack of clubs is a slightly higher chance than West holding Kxx or Kxxx of diamonds.

Bobby WolffSeptember 4th, 2010 at 12:02 am

Hi Paul,

Yes, you are following the Yellow Brick Road to fame at bridge. All you need to do is put into action those kinds of winning decisions in a consistent manner and for all to see.

Remember when one is engaged in a crucial match with, at times, the responsibility for the who wins on only your shoulders, your expertise will

be called into play. When the time comes, be ready with the same kind of concise and complete analysis that you demonstrate here. Let’s hope the Jack of clubs is finessible and you’ve made fine wine out of grape leaves.

Such is the advantage of youth and with it the dreams.

Thanks for writing.