Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

I presume you're mortal and may err.

James Shirley

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


Today's deal comes from Robert Ewen and Jeff Rubens' "It's All in the Game," a compendium of articles written over the last 50 years by the world's foremost bridge editor.

Here is Rubens explaining a hand to his wife. “There will be a lot of competitive bidding on this deal,” Rubens said, “but the player with the spades will usually prevail. Suppose South buys the contract in five spades. East has bid hearts vigorously, and the defense starts with two rounds of that suit, South ruffing.”

“It’s a laydown. South trumps the losing diamond in dummy.”

“Well, it’s not quite that simple. East has a singleton diamond and will trump the second diamond.”

“That’s peeking. I would have gone down.”

“What South should do is play just one round of trump before he goes after the diamonds. As luck would have it, this extracts East’s only trump and the contract rolls home. The incomplete trump removal is an interesting theme, and if this deal popped up (as it did at the club this afternoon), you could send it in to the papers if it had been played correctly.”

“Was it played correctly?”

“Yes, but not at five spades. North-South tried to mess up the story by doubling East in five hearts. South led the diamond king and switched to the spade king and ace. East ruffed, cashed one round of hearts, and was then able to trump his losing club safely in dummy. So the incomplete trump removal showed up anyway. That’s what I mean about things straightening themselves out.”

I may not be in line with modern thinking, but my answer would vary here depending on the vulnerability. I would open this hand three diamonds if nonvulnerable, though I would understand passing if vulnerable. My partners would expect a better suit for a three-level pre-empt. If it is not good enough to open at the three-level, I would pass, rather than open two diamonds.


♠ 4 2
 J 2
 Q 10 9 8 5 4 3
♣ K 10
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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact