Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: E-W


9 7 3 2

10 6 5

A 7 6 3 2



10 8 6 5

J 9 8 3

Q J 10

7 6


Q 4

7 2

K 9 8 5 4

9 8 5 4



A K Q 4

K Q J 10 3 2


South West North East
2 Pass 2 NT* Pass
7 All Pass

* Four controls, counting two for an ace and one for a king

Opening Lead: Queen

“If you want to get ahead, get a hat.”

— British Hat Council

Here is a famous deal, recorded by Eddie Kantar as played by the much-loved Harry Fishbein. Harry was as well-known for the many different-colored berets he sported at tournaments as for his expert play. See if you can match his play on this one. Be sure to cover up the East-West hands.


No bidding is given, but one plausible sequence to the grand slam comes when North shows his controls over the two-club opening bid. Anyway, Harry wound up in seven clubs, and the opening lead was the diamond queen. How would you play?


The problem was that Fishbein didn’t know what to discard on the diamond ace. If hearts were 3-3 or the jack was doubleton, he should discard a spade. However, if the spade queen was singleton or doubleton, he should discard a heart.


Harry solved the problem by ruffing the opening lead and playing the heart ace, looking for the jack. No luck. His next play was the spade ace looking for the queen. Still no luck. Next the heart king. Still no jack. Now the spade king. Success! Finally an honor appeared. Knowing his spade jack was a winner, Fishbein crossed to the club ace and discarded a heart on the diamond ace, ruffed a diamond back to his hand, drew trumps, and made the grand.


Had the spade queen not appeared, Fishbein would have crossed to the club ace and discarded the spade jack on the diamond ace, hoping hearts were 3-3.


South Holds:

9 7 3 2
10 6 5
A 7 6 3 2


South West North East
1 Pass
ANSWER: The world divides into two camps here — each will defend its choice to the death. Those in group one will bid their long suit, expecting opener to introduce a four-card major next, even when balanced. Those in group two will respond in the major with a weak hand, so opener will rebid one no-trump concealing a major, unless he is unbalanced, with real clubs. Both views make sense. Just be sure you know what your partner likes to do!


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 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact