Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 21st, 2011

Dealer: North

Vul: East-West


K 9 8 7 6

A 10 7 3

Q 4 2



Q 4 3

6 5 2

K 10 6

8 7 5 2




A J 9 7 5 3

A K Q J 10


A J 5 2

K J 9 8 4


9 6 4


South West North East
    Pass 1
1 Pass 3 * 4
Pass 5 Pass Pass
5 Dbl. All Pass  
*6-9, four trumps

Opening Lead: Club Eight

“Striving to no winning?

Let the world be Zero’s!”

— Richard Hovey

This week’s deals mark the fact that the Fall Nationals are taking place right now in Seattle. They all come from last year’s championships in Orlando.


Robb Gordon, one of the few experts who plays with his wife in most of the major championships, read the cards beautifully on this deal from the second final session of the Mitchell Open Board-a-Match Teams. At Board-a-Match the scoring is closer to that of pairs — all that matters is that you beat your opponents’ result against your teammates. How much you beat them by is irrelevant.


Gordon was South, and when the opponents bid and raised clubs, Gordon placed his partner with a singleton, so bid on to five hearts. After the club lead, he ruffed the second round of diamonds and successfully handled the trumps by leading the king. When the queen appeared, no finesse was necessary. Then he played the spade ace and was delighted to see the 10 fall. Next he led a spade to the nine for an impressive plus 650. What a waste!


The reason is that Gordon’s teammates had “sacrificed” in six clubs, and when the defenders did not take both aces, but instead tried to cash two spades, declarer could draw trump and negotiate the diamond queen to pitch all three of dummy’s heart losers. Now he could take a ruff in dummy for the 12th trick. Plus 1540 and plus 650 were the top score in each direction.


South Holds:

9 4
K J 9 3 2
8 7 6
7 6 5


South West North East
  1 Pass 1
Pass 1 Pass 1 NT
Pass 2 NT Pass 3 NT
Pass Pass Dbl. All Pass
ANSWER: The double is not a demand for a club lead, but suggests North has clubs under control and is happy to see you lead one if nothing else looks better. Only a strong sequence in another suit would make you feel different and you do not have that. The club five looks right — giving count may be more important than showing honors.


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