Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

The world abounds with laws and teems with crimes.


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


This month on Tuesdays I shall be running deals from a new book, by Robert Ewen and Jeff Rubens, editor of the Bridge World, the monthly publication that is generally acknowledged to be the world's most interesting bridge magazine.

The new book is called “It’s All in the Game,” a mixture of humorous and informative deals, together with a fair selection of mind-bending problems. Quite a few of the latter demonstrate that bridge and reality have only a small overlap. I can guarantee that all my readers will find something to enjoy.

Here is Ewen at work as South in a chapter mischievously trying to prove that one can take certain dictums at bridge too far — such as “second hand low.” Against four spades West stumbled upon a club lead; East topped the king with the ace and shifted to a trump. Ewen won and led out the three top hearts. “Second hand low!” chortled West, as he carefully ruffed with the lower of his two remaining trumps, the seven. Declarer would have made the contract had West discarded (he would pitch a diamond from dummy and score his 10th trick with a diamond ruff), or if had he ruffed with the spade nine (he would then use the spade eight as an entry to run the clubs), but West’s actual play left him without recourse.

Ewen overruffed and led the club queen for a diamond discard, but West ruffed, then cashed the two top diamonds for a one-trick set.

Check out The Bridge World on the net for details about the book.

When the opponents pre-empt in this sequence, they leave your side short of descriptive actions. A double here shows a good hand and is optional. In fact, it may be closer to takeout than penalties in the modern style, so you should simply bid three hearts. A rebid of three clubs would show weakness, but would not get the extra heart length across.


♠ 5 4
 J 10 9 8 4 2
 10 9
♣ A 9 8
South West North East
1♣ Pass
1 2♠ Dbl. 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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


jim2July 24th, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I just know that if I sat West in this deal, all poised for brilliance, that South would recognize that his/her hand would always take tricks, but that North’s might be worthless at any non-club contract, and then stolidly bid 5C.

JaneJuly 24th, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Well said, Jim 2. It also looks like a spade lead sets the contract as well, and with this bidding, I think the defense should find that lead. Interesting game, this bridge!

Well, we just took over your blog again, Bobby. But please feel free to offer any comments!

bobby wolffJuly 24th, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Hi Jim2,

Ah, yes the authors would be prohibiting your brilliance at the table, but then in real life East would have been dealt AJx in clubs and your opponents would have been down the same down one at their alternate game contract.

A good friend (my late wife) used never to read fiction or for that matter go to movies or watch contrived TV stories for having no desire to be subject to the author’s imagination. Only real life for her.

jim2July 24th, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Generally, though, it is my absence of brilliance that prevents it.

bobby wolffJuly 24th, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Hi Jane,

Yes, a trump lead (not usually recommended on this type bidding) also works, but then we wouldn’t have a 2nd hand low to rely on. Perhaps Debby’s lack of respect for fiction, which she used to refer to as “playing with her mind” was well founded.

In truth however, “It’s All in the Game”, is an entertaining book, but so is your keen analysis.