Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: East-West


K 5 4

A 6 4

Q 5 2

10 9 6 2


9 8 3

K Q J 9

K 9 8 7 6



7 2

10 5 2

A J 10 3

K 8 5 4


A Q J 10 6

8 7 3


A Q J 3


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

Opening Lead: Heart King

“Human life is everywhere a state in which much is to be endured, and little to be enjoyed.”

— Samuel Johnson

At the Dyspeptics Club there are many players who would buy into Gore Vidal’s comment that it was not enough that they should succeed. Additionally, others must fail. Of course, it is almost impossible for both sides to be happy at the end of any deal, but today East and West’s pleasure was certainly increased by North’s visible discomfort when play was over.


The action in four spades proceeded speedily. The heart king was led to dummy’s ace, and declarer drew trumps ending in dummy. Then he passed the club 10, and when it held the trick, he irritated his partner even further by a premature comment that finally a finesse had worked for him. South repeated the club finesse, leading to his jack, but the 4-1 club break meant he still had a club loser since he could no longer reach dummy to repeat the finesse. There were three inevitable red-suit losers, so the game had to go down.


South airily remarked that there was nothing he could do; North riposted that indeed there was nothing South could have done — but a bridge player might have stood a better chance of making the game. Do you see what he meant?


Best play after winning the heart ace at trick one is to lead the club two to the queen. Then comes the spade ace, spade queen, and a spade to dummy’s king. After all the trumps are drawn, then running the club 10 produces a painless 10 tricks.


South Holds:

K 5 4
A 6 4
Q 5 2
10 9 6 2


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 NT Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: You must raise to three clubs for two reasons. The first is that although it is unlikely, your side might have a good play for game. The second is that you know the opponents have a good fit in one major or the other, and raising to three clubs makes it harder for them to get into the act.


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