Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

Dealer: East

Vul: North-South



10 8

Q J 7 5

A Q 10 9 7 3


K 7 6 5

J 4 2

A 9 8 4 2



A J 9 8 2

K 3

10 6 3

J 8 6


10 4 3

A Q 9 7 6 5


K 4 2


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

Opening Lead: Club 5

“It is a fine thing to be out on the hills alone. A man can hardly be a beast or a fool alone on a great mountain.”

— The Rev. Francis Kilvert

Henry Francis, Editor of the ACBL bulletin for three decades, reported the clash of a Canadian and a Mexican team in the 1985 North American championships.


Henry described the play in four hearts, on a club lead to dummy’s queen. Declarer played a diamond to his king and West’s ace. Now West crossed to his partner via the spade ace for the club ruff.


West, Miguel Reygadas, exited with a diamond, and now declarer led a trump to dummy’s queen, on which Reygadas deposited the jack. Taken in by this, South tried to cross to dummy with a club to repeat the trump finesse, and Reygadas swiftly produced the heart four to set the hand by a trick.


There are two reasons why declarer’s line was questionable: the first and most powerful is that if the cards lay the way that declarer hoped for, West ought to have shifted to a spade after taking the club ruff, to protect his partner’s heart honor. By forcing dummy to ruff, he would ensure the defeat of the contract.


But the most conclusive reason to get the hand right would have been to prevent West from having bragging rights over you for the rest of his life! Having said that, all credit to Reygadas for finding the falsecard as his only chance to set the hand. Had declarer not seen the heart jack appear, he would have had no chance but to play for the outstanding trumps to split, thus making his contract.


South Holds:

K 7 6 5
J 4 2
A 9 8 4 2


South West North East
  1 1
Dbl. Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: Your partner’s rebid of clubs strongly suggests six — or five very good clubs with no sensible alternative action. You may feel that some other strain will play better than clubs, but you have no real reason for assuming that to be so. Having found what appears to be a playable spot, you should pass and let your partner make the best of it.


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