Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Dealer: East

Vul: East-West


K J 8 5 4

Q 9 7

Q 9 8 3



10 7 2

A 8 2

10 7 6 2

10 3 2


Q 6

J 10 6 5 4

J 4

A Q J 6


A 9 3

K 3

A K 5

K 8 7 5 4


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

Opening Lead: Heart Two

“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”

— Samuel Johnson

This deal was played in round eight of the Rosenblum qualifying stage in Philadelphia last year. Fredrik Nystrom of Sweden was happy to report his teammates’ defensive effort against a Chilean team.


At one table, South played four spades, wrapping up 10 tricks on a trump lead.


At the other table, South was also declarer in the same contract, but he had to deal with a much more challenging defense by Peter Fredin (West) and Bjorn Fallenius.


Fredin started with a low heart to the seven, 10, and king. Declarer fired a heart right back, and Fredin smoothly played his eight. Declarer inserted dummy’s nine, losing to the jack.


The deception continued when Fallenius put the club queen on the table, ducked by declarer. A third round of hearts was ruffed by declarer, who then played the spade ace and a spade to the jack. Fallenius won and played a fourth round of hearts.


Fredin didn’t want to give away the show by discarding a club, so he ruffed with the 10, overruffed in dummy.


Declarer now played a diamond to his ace and ruffed a club. On the second round of diamonds, Fallenius played the jack, won by declarer’s king. Declarer now had a finessing position against Fredin’s remaining diamonds, the 10-7, but he was convinced that West’s last two cards were a low diamond and the club ace. Accordingly, he played a diamond from hand and went up with dummy’s queen.


I would have loved to be a fly on the wall to see declarer’s reaction!


South Holds:

Q 6
J 10 6 5 4
J 4
A Q J 6


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
ANSWER: It is a good general rule that one should not worry about bidding no-trump with an unguarded suit, unless or until you have been put on notice that the suit is dangerous. Here no opponent has bid diamonds. If one had, you’d steer clear of no-trump, of course. East has bid clubs, and you have that suit under control, so rebid one no-trump now.


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


David WarheitOctober 26th, 2011 at 5:39 pm

In yet another room, west also led the deuce of hearts against 4 spades. South won and fired back a heart which west ducked. But this south had played against this pair before, so he went up with the queen. He then led a club, which east ducked smoothly, but now south had no reason to duck, so his king won the trick. Having avoided losing to both aces, he now played it safe. He ruffed a club, ruffed the last heart, and cashed the ace-king of spades. When the queen fell, he cashed the jack of spades, finishing drawing trump, crossed to the ace of diamonds and ruffed a club. East was so shaken when he realized that his side had lost two aces that he forgot to falsecard with the ace of clubs. South then cashed the king of diamonds, dropping east’s jack. Realizing that east wasn’t up to falsecarding in clubs, south figured that he wasn’t falsecarding in diamonds either, so he finessed the nine of diamonds at trick 12. Making seven!

Bobby WolffOctober 26th, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Hi David,

Touche! Attempted brilliance often has its downside, and your comment covered its entirety.

If asked for an opinion, I wouild side with convention, not deception, although each has its place.

Thanks for reminding us of the dark side of the equation. However, all of us appreciate at least a little variety and the above real life hand represented it well.

jim2October 26th, 2011 at 7:34 pm

My condolences on the Semis, Mr. Wolff!

No 6th set?

(What a finish in the other!)

John Howard GibsonOctober 26th, 2011 at 8:51 pm

HBJ : Yet again a hand where West had nothing to lose from deception and everything to gain.

He can see that the defence has 1H winner and possible the Ace of clubs, with declarer well set to make 5S, 3D, 1H and 1C if it happens to be the king. Moreover he can see the possiblity of declarer harvesting 4 diamonds.

Nevertheless the choice of deceptive cards were brilliant ( by both players ). For East to play the queen of clubs is amazing : I being who I am would always hop up with the Ace, frightened of declarer having the king.

Great hand which demonstrates how to get something from nothing with a bit of guile, cunning, imagination and foresight.

Many tx for the instruction.

Bobby WolffOctober 27th, 2011 at 3:21 am

Hi Jim2,

Yes, my team respectfully conceded after the 5th set down by 80+. It may seem like giving up to some, but in reality it was only succumbing to the inevitable (the opponents were playing great and the margin, with only 16 boards left, appeared overwhelming). Also our team could get some rest before playing Poland for the bronze medal tomorrow (now today).

Yes, the French won on the last hand (picking up 6 IMPs on a part score hand) by .3 of a Victory Point, the amount determined by an earlier time penalty.

The good news (at least for me) is that international bridge in all 3 divisions (BB, VC and D’O Seniors) is significantly improving world wide, at least IMHO because of combinations of work ethic and enabling professionalism.

Now, if only we could restrict the professionalism to world class players (or almost) our game could take off and become very viable for Olympic inclusion. Perhaps the above is nothing more than a wild dream, but the game we play is so challenging, interesting, varied, competitive and exciting that I really believe it is all possible, if someone with the energy, love of the game, actively ethical and with the character of an angel to lead us, no mountain is too high to be climbed.

Bobby WolffOctober 27th, 2011 at 3:32 am


Yes, Peter Fredin especially and Bjorn Fallenius of Sweden, are masters of doing it with mirrors and bridge magic.

Their bridge adventures rival Indiana Jones in their daring do and variations. While we probably do not get consistent reports of when their attempted deception does not work it still makes for great press whey it does.

If, as the Bible says, the meek will inherit the earth, F&F will, at the very least, make it worth inheriting for all bridge lovers.

Thanks for your always well considered comments.