Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, December 9th, 2011

He who has done his best for his own time has lived for all times.

Friedrich von Schiller

South North
Neither ♠ A K 4 3
 A 7 4
 10 4
♣ 7 5 3 2
West East
♠ Q 10 8 7
 K J 8 5 3
♣ A K Q 9
♠ 6 5 2
 10 9 6
 Q J 9 8
♣ 10 6 4
♠ J 9
 Q 2
 A K 7 6 5 3 2
♣ J 8
South West North East
1 1 Dbl. Pass
2 Dbl. Rdbl. 2
3 All pass    


After a tangled auction in which West started by overcalling in his five-card major rather than doubling (he expected to get a chance to show his extra values and short diamonds at his next turn, as he did), South bid on to three diamonds on his seven-card suit because of his lack of defense. East could not quite risk a double of the final contract, in case the diamond 10 was to his right, not his left.

West started off on clubs and continued the suit, knowing that a shift to any other suit would probably cost a trick.

Declarer ruffed the third club and played the diamond ace, discovering the bad news. Although declarer now appeared to have three top losers, careful timing enabled him to telescope them into two. The top diamonds were cashed, then dummy was entered with the spade king, and the fourth club was ruffed as East discarded a spade.

Then came the spade ace, and a spade ruff in the South hand. Finally, South led to the heart ace and advanced the last spade, having reduced his own hand to two diamonds and one heart. If East ruffed, South would discard his heart loser and score trick 13. If East did not, declarer would ruff in and concede the last two tricks twice over. If East had ruffed in earlier on in the hand, the heart loser would have been discarded in the same way. This technique is called a coup en passant.

In third seat, opening light is intended to make life hard for your opponents and to direct the best lead for your partner. Opening one club with this hand fails on both counts (I would rather pass than do that) while opening one spade achieves both goals. Don't worry about having only four spades!


♠ A K 4 3
 A 7 4
 10 4
♣ 7 5 3 2
South West North East
Pass Pass

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