Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, December 17, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: N/S


A 10 7 5


A 9 7 5 4

K 7 4


K J 9 8 6 4

8 7 5

J 8 2



Q 3

9 6 2

K 10 3

A J 10 9 3



A K J 10 4 3

Q 6

Q 8 6 2


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening Lead: 5

“The twilight of our mysteries

Shines like high noonday on her face;

Our piteous guesses, dim with fears,

She touches, handles, sees, and hears.”

— Robert Hugh Benson

I notice that Jeff Wolfson has come out of retirement, if only temporarily, 10 years since he gave up the game to concentrate on family life after his squad played in the 2000 World Championships.

Here is a deal from the last set of the trials that qualified his team for the Bermuda Bowl. Because his opponents had made three no-trump here, Michael Rosenberg (for the Wolfson team) would have to make his heart game to avoid a substantial loss.

On a low club lead to East’s nine (this would have been a fine time for a falsecard) and South’s queen, the issue was how to get a 10th trick if East had all the top clubs.

It seems impossible to build a trick from the diamond queen. However, Rosenberg went for a completely different play, electing to ruff out the spades before drawing trumps. As soon as West was known to hold six spades, East was marked with the diamond king. (If West had held that card, he would surely have overcalled.)

That made Rosenberg’s life much easier. He now ran all the trumps, forcing East to come down to three clubs and two diamonds.

Rosenberg now endplayed East with a club, to lead diamonds in the two-card ending, and the diamond loser had vanished. Very nicely judged. Of course, had East kept all of his clubs, he would have been forced to bare his diamond king.


South Holds:

A 10 7 5
A 9 7 5 4
K 7 4


South West North East
  1 Pass 1
Dbl. Pass 1 Pass
Pass 2 Pass Pass
ANSWER: It is very tempting to act again in sequences of this sort, but bear in mind that you showed the unbid suits and values, and your partner declined to bid beyond the one-level. Yes, you only have one heart, but how many do you think your partner has? I’d guess four or five — and he might have only three spades! Play it safe and 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


Judy Kay-WolffDecember 31st, 2010 at 4:22 pm

I suspect MPP is closed today in advance of the New Year’s Holiday, so I cannot reach them to correct the auction. The feature hand’s final contract should be 4H (not 4S).

jim2January 1st, 2011 at 2:11 am

It seems a small matter as, fortunately, the text contains the correct one:

“… would have to make his heart game to avoid a substantial loss.”

Still, I did enjoy playing with the hand to see how close North really could come to making 4S:

– JC around to the king,

– 4D ducked by East to the Q,

– AD,

– D ruff,

– three top hearts pitching clubs, and

– 6C, ruff, over-ruff

Declarer has won the first eight tricks and has the trump A 10 7 and the last two diamonds, but the defense would have to work hard not to take all but the trump ace.