Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

The dust of exploded beliefs may make a fine sunset.

Geoffrey Madan

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


All this week's deals come from last year's Gold Coast tournament in Australia. This year's event is taking place this week, and you can follow the later stages on

Today’s deal comes from the finals of the teams, where in one room the contract was three no-trump declared by North. East led the heart jack, West ducked, and declarer won and led a club to the ace, after which eight tricks were the limit. Had declarer played the spade ace and another spade at trick two, the defenders would have been somewhat awkwardly placed, but West can avoid an endplay by shifting to the club nine eventually.

In the other room Ishmael Del’Monte judged well to use Stayman rather than transferring to spades. West’s double was less well judged and both North and South made him pay.

West led a low trump against two clubs redoubled, and Del’Monte won cheaply in hand, led a heart to the king, passed the diamond queen, ducked all round, and now ducked a heart to West’s bare ace. Back came a low club to the ace, and Del’Monte led a spade upon which West correctly unblocked his king to let East win the spade queen at the next trick.

However, when East mistakenly exited with a heart, West had to ruff and could do no better than exit with the diamond ace and another diamond. That left Del’Monte in hand for the trump coup. Nine tricks was worth a cool 1160 — a number you don’t see every day.

This is a close call. Do you repeat a bad six-card suit or pass? Because of the looseness of the club opening in Standard American, I would vote for rebidding clubs, allowing partner to join in if (as will inevitably happen) the opponents compete to the two-level.


♠ K J
 A 5
 A 10 8
♣ J 9 7 6 4 2
South West North East
1♣ 1 1 1♠

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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


jim2February 8th, 2012 at 1:56 pm

On the bidding quiz, I must confess that at rubber bridge I would probably bid 1N, just to be able to tell the story of the first five bids of the auction.

Bobby WolffFebruary 8th, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Hi Jim2,

Quit trying to pull my leg. Your reason, as probably would be mine, because 1NT might be both more descriptive and run to daylight faster than would be 2 clubs, which implies more distribution.

I some day might ask how many are the most bids possible during one bidding hand, but, if so, do not fall for the ruse.

You’ll have to add them up but it would start out and continue, P, P, P, 1 club, P P double, P, P, redouble, P, P, 1 diamond etc., well you get the idea.

jim2February 8th, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Moi? 🙂

I still remember the hand from ~40 years ago that went (with me second to bid):

1C – 2C – 3C – 4C

And I then spoiled it all by bidding 5S and all passed.

On the possible bid count, do you remember the challenge contest between two athletes and two bridge players? Among the rules of contest were that the two athletes got to look at each other’s hand at the start of the auction and (on defense) before the opening lead.

Anyway, on one hand, the experts tried to sacrifice at the 8 level ….

jim2February 8th, 2012 at 4:33 pm

(two teams, I meant – one of two athlete pairs and the other of two expert pairs)

Bobby WolffFebruary 8th, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Hi Jim2,

Since Bob Hamman and I were one of the two pairs I certainly do. The opponents were Frank Beard (golfer), Tim McCarver (baseball), Jim Bunning (baseball) and Richie Ashburn (baseball) with Eddie Kantar their coach and it took place at the Host Farm, Pennsylvania in 1972 right before the Fall Nationals.

It seems almost like yesterday, but it generated a lot of interest. We won, but not without a struggle, since Eddie suggested to them that an occasional psychic bid by them would likely screw us up.

Little did they knew that we could find a way to screw ourselves up, even without their help.

jim2February 8th, 2012 at 6:42 pm

I thought you had been, but was not sure.

I do not think the attempted 8-bid was at your table, though.

Bobby WolffFebruary 12th, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Hi Jim2,

The good news about allowing an 8 bid, no doubt for sacrificial purposes, it would allow a following pass by an opponent to be thought of as a perfect example of a forcing pass.

A name which comes to mind which goes along with this conversation is Ed Wynn, a comedian and father of actor Keenan Wynn, known long before you were born as “The Perfect Fool”.