Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 7th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: East-West


J 9 2

A Q J 8 4

Q 8 3

A 5


8 7 5

9 7 5 2

J 10 9

8 7 4


Q 10 6 3


5 4 2

K Q J 9 3


A K 4

K 6 3

A K 7 6

10 6 2


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

Opening Lead: Diamond Jack

“The fascination of what’s difficult

Has dried the sap out of my veins…”

— W.B. Yeats

You don’t need to be a great bridge strategist to play an obscure squeeze. Recently I showed you a deal from the Cavendish Bridge Club in New York where drawing trump and cashing winners produced a vise squeeze. You think that is exciting? Here is a deal from the same club where the simple act of drawing trump and cashing winners produced a ruffing squeeze. What’s that, you say? Well here goes.


As South you stay out of a thin slam. (After transferring to hearts, North might have advanced with a quantitative four-no-trump call over the transfer response, but nobody did anything unreasonable.) You win the diamond lead in hand — and yes, as a technical matter, you should unblock dummy’s diamond eight, but never mind.


Now you draw trump in four rounds, pitching a spade from hand. Next come three more rounds of diamonds (you’re guessing well today, so you play for the suit to be 3-3 and do not finesse against East), throwing dummy’s club.


At this point everyone is down to five cards. What would you suggest for East to keep? If he pitches a revealing club honor, declarer unblocks the club ace, comes back to hand with a spade, and ruffs out the clubs, taking tricks 12 and 13 with a top spade and a club. If he pitches a spade instead, declarer cashes the two top spades, dropping the queen, and dummy is good.


The same line of play also works on a club lead — the defenders are defenseless.


South Holds:

A K 4
K 6 3
A K 7 6
10 6 2


South West North East
1 NT 2 Pass Pass
ANSWER: Most partnerships these days have switched to playing takeout doubles by both responder and the no-trump opener as their first action after an overcall of a one-no-trump opening. So you could reopen with a double here; but even though you have a maximum hand, your heart suit is completely wrong for that action. Pass and assume that your partner would have acted if it was right for your side to compete.


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


jim2October 21st, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Why would SAWIRUDDIN pitch the spade deuce on Board #6 (Round 15)??

Bobby WolffOctober 22nd, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Hi Jim2,

I just saw your comment, but since, when I am not playing, I stay away from the action, I, at least at this time, will not be able to answer your question.

The most difficult task in a long bridge endurance contest is to conserve one’s energy, so not concerning oneself, with no upside gain, is a requirement of mine, particularly so when one grows older.

Possibly, at some later date, but certainly not surely, I may be able to answer. If it truly was a terrible play, it probably resulted from a loss of concentration.

jim2October 23rd, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Congratulations on finishing well into the 8!

We’re all rooting for you, and the rest of USA 1!