Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: None


K 10

A 6 3

A K 7 5 4

K 6 3


A 4

J 2

Q 10

J 10 9 8 7 5 2


5 3

9 8 5 4

J 9 8 6 3 2



Q J 9 8 7 6 2

K Q 10 7



South West North East
  3 3 NT Pass
4 Pass 4 Pass
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead: J

“O Captain! my Captain! Our fearful trip is done,

The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won.”

— Walt Whitman

“Jimmie” Arthur, who died recently, was a former president of the Scottish Bridge Union and a Scottish international player. But his main claim to fame was as Britain’s most successful team captain ever.

Having captained Scottish Open and Ladies’ teams 27 times in the Home Internationals series, he was the popular choice as captain of the British Ladies’ team for the European Championships in 1997, and his astute player deployment helped them to the Gold Medal. He repeated this success in 1999, but then devolution saw England, Scotland and Wales fielding separate teams, whereupon he took charge of the Scottish Open team in the 2000 Olympiad. However, the England Ladies’ team requested Jimmie’s services for the 2001 European Championships and he accepted the captaincy. The result was yet another Gold Medal — and then a Bronze in 2003.

Jimmie excelled at many physical games as well as cerebral bridge. He was in action as South on this deal. After West had opened with a pre-emptive three clubs, Jimmie Arthur ended as declarer in six spades.

West led the club jack, and Jimmie reasoned that if West held the ace of trumps, he would be able to deliver a club ruff to East. So, instead of winning the club lead in hand, he rose with dummy’s king, under which he dropped his queen, then cashed the diamond ace, on which he discarded his club ace. Only then did he touch trumps, bringing home a slam that failed at many other tables.


South Holds:

K 10
A 6 3
A K 7 5 4
K 6 3


South West North East
1 1 Pass Pass
ANSWER: You correctly up-valued this hand to treat it as a balanced 18-19 initially (the five-card suit and controls make this the sensible action). See your plan through by rebidding one no-trump now to show these values. You can’t underwrite this action; as usual, at bridge even the most sensible of actions carries some risk.


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