Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Dealer: West

Vul: Both


A 8 7 3

8 7 3

J 7 6 3

A 9


K Q 6

A K 10

10 8 2

10 5 3 2


10 4

J 9 5 4 2

9 5 4

8 6 4


J 9 5 2

Q 6


K Q J 7


South West North East
  1 NT* Pass 2
Dbl.** 2 Dbl. Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
4 All Pass    
*12-14 balanced
**15 HCP or more

Opening Lead: Heart King

“Man is only a reed, the weakest thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed.”

— Blaise Pascal

Declarer took all available inferences from the bidding to bring home his four-spade contract, in spite of the tenuous trump holding. West cashed the top two hearts, then continued with the 10, which South ruffed. Declarer could safely assume that West had both the spade king and queen, but as there was no hope for the game if West also held the 10, he placed this card with East.


Declarer entered dummy with the club ace to play a spade to the nine, which drew the queen from West. So far, so good. A diamond was returned — and now came the moment of truth.


Had West started with the bare K-Q of spades? If that were the case, a low spade from hand would net the contract. Or had he begun with K-Q-x in spades? Then the right card to play next would be the jack to smother East’s spade 10.


South assembled the clues. West, had opened one no-trump vulnerable on a 12-count. Conceivably he might not have done so with bare spade honors. Equally, had he held five diamonds, might he have switched to diamonds at trick three, in the hope that East held a singleton and could be given a ruff? Also, the fact that East had five hearts and West only three meant that any side-suit length rated to be with West, not East.


Concluding that West was likelier to have started with three spades, declarer continued with the spade jack — with gratifying results.


South Holds:

J 9 5 2
Q 6
K Q J 7


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
ANSWER: Despite the fact that you have four spades, there is no need to bid the suit yet. The most accurate way to describe your hand is with the jump-rebid of two no-trump, showing 18-19 points. Partner can explore for major-suit fits at his next turn to speak, if he feels so inclined.


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


Michael BeyroutiOctober 1st, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Dear Mr Wolff,

what is the illegal help you alluded to in the comments about yesterday’s column that the Italiens were availing themselves to in the sixties? Is it Roman Discards or something else? (You can tell that I haven’t [yet] read “The Lone Wolff”…) I used to admire the “Blue Team”, but the more I read your blog the more I see them in a different light.

Thanks for taking the time to answer.

Bobby WolffOctober 3rd, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Hi Michael,

No, it wasn’t Roman Discards I was referring to. Yes, reading “The Lone Wolff” might help your bridge history, including many hopefully entertaining, but also some sordid and provocative meanderings.

No, the internet is probably, not at this time anyway, the venue to discuss this in proper detail. Yes Jimmy Ortiz-Patino’s long awaited book, “The World Bridge History”, is on the agenda for discussion at the upcoming agenda at the WBF meetings held in a couple of weeks at the next World Championship in the Netherlands and is finally apparently ready for publication.

At least to me, Pietro Forquet, the late Georgio Belladonna, and my good friend, Benito Garozzo are three of the very best bridge players to ever grace the bridge world and would all be on everyone’s short list of the greatest of all time (I, as I have said before, would rate Benito as the most legitimately talented bridge player ever), but some untoward things happen in life and particularly so at the highest level in the world-wide bridge world.

Having said the above, you are entitled, based on however you choose, to form your own opinion, but only after objectively researching what has been reported. Good luck and whatever you decide, remember what has now been with me for many years, do not attempt to walk in other people’s shoes, because by doing so, the perspective is usually impossible or at the very least, extremely difficult to comprehend, so be careful about assessing blame without at least making a real effort to understand the compelling circumstances.

Whatever one now thinks of Tiger Woods, it would be hard to deny that unquestionably and based on the record, he, at least at one shining time period, was the greatest golfer of all time.

Good Luck!