Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

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

I count life just a stuff
To try the soul’s strength on.

Robert Browning

North North
East-West ♠ J 8 6
 Q 9 4
♣ A K 10 7 3 2
West East
♠ K 9 7 5 4 3 2
 10 8 3
 A 7 3
♣ —
♠ A Q 10
 K Q 5 4 2
♣ J 9 8 4
♠ —
 A K J 7 6 2
 J 10 9 6
♣ Q 6 5
South West North East
1♣ 1
1 1♠ Dbl. 2♠
3♠ 4♠ Pass Pass
5 5♠ Pass Pass
6 Dbl. All pass  


In today's deal from the Cap Gemini tournament of a decade ago, both sides have fair play for slam, but 11 tricks are the limit on perfect defense.

At one table, Marinesa Letizia, on lead against six hearts doubled, underled the diamond ace. Lisa Berkowitz got the message, returning a high club for her partner to ruff. That was all the defense got — their result of plus-100 came out pretty close to par on the board. However it was a little unlucky for Letizia — had partner not turned up with that club honor, this play would have been necessary to beat the hand. It was even more unlucky in that declarer would possibly have gone down even more on a spade lead. (Unless declarer plays a diamond himself at trick two, the defenders collect at least 300.)

Incidentally, Larry Cohen as declarer did make this diamond play at trick two — protecting himself against the foul splits — to bring home five hearts doubled at another table.

By contrast, where Chemla and Perron were sitting East-West they were lucky enough to run into a North who could not or would not open his hand. They got to buy the hand in five spades doubled and received the lead of the club king.

Perron, West, ruffed and led a heart, won by North, who led another club. With one heart ruff established, Perron played safe for 11 tricks and a gain of 12 IMPs.

Is this worth an opening bid? You pays your money, you takes your choice. In my book a good six-carder like this should be opened even if it a slight stretch. If I had a weak-two bid available, I might consider that action if vulnerable, but here I do not have that choice; one club it is.


♠ J 8 6
 Q 9 4
♣ A K 10 7 3 2
South West North East

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