Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Fish say, they have their stream and pond;
But is there anything beyond?

Rupert Brooke

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

*Both majors


In snooker the most valuable balls are the black and pink, analogous in bridge to the ace and king, while the minor colors, starting with the yellow, are the little fish.

In this deal from the Open Teams in Poznan, Mark Horton compared the play to a snooker game, pointing out that declarer missed a chance to use his less significant assets and make his game.

Where he was watching, West led his singleton diamond against five clubs, and declarer lost a spade and two diamonds. But a closer inspection reveals that declarer had a winning line if he had made use of all the resources at his disposal.

The winning line is to take the lead with dummy’s diamond ace and begin eliminating the hearts by cashing the heart ace and ruffing a heart. A trump to dummy enables South to ruff another heart, and he now plays a spade from his hand. West must take the ace and can do no better than return a spade, declarer winning with dummy’s king and pitching a diamond from his own hand. Declarer next draws the outstanding trump, then plays the spade eight. When East cannot beat it, South simply discards a diamond, forcing West to win. What can that player do next? All he has left is spades and hearts. Whichever he leads, declarer ruffs in dummy and discards a diamond loser from hand.

This was the line followed by Jean-Christophe Quantin to bring home plus 550 in five clubs doubled.

You have enough values to contest the partscore, but your doubleton club makes this very awkward. You surely don't have a nine-card fit, and the opponents do not have more than eight spades between them. I think you should pass on the grounds that defending two spades may be your best score possible, if not your best possible result.


♠ 5 3 2
 K J 9 3
 K Q 7 5
♣ 7 4
South West North East
1♣ Pass
1 1♠ Pass 2♠

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