Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Director to young man watching the bridge tournament:
“Would you care to kibitz, sir?
Young man: “No thanks, I’ll just watch.


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


Jeff Rubens' latest book, "It's All in the Game," mixes humor and technical material. Here, one of his characters, the doctor, is watching his friend in the South seat when today's deal pops up.

Against four spades West led the diamond two, an obvious singleton, which was taken by dummy’s ace. Declarer cashed the two top hearts to shed a diamond. What would you expect him to do next?

The doctor was surprised to see his friend trump a small heart with the spade eight in hand. Clubs were now led, East winning the king and cashing the diamond queen, on which West discarded a heart. East continued with a third round of diamonds, which South was forced to ruff with the 10.

East won the next club with the ace and played a fourth round of diamonds. Declarer again ruffed high, this time with the jack. He now trumped a club in dummy, played off the ace and queen of spades, and was left with the spade king for the final trick.

The doctor promptly asked about the strange play in hearts at the fourth trick. “Why, it was necessary to make the contract,” replied his friend. “Had I not ruffed that heart early in the play, West would have discarded his remaining hearts on the diamonds, and on the 12th trick, dummy would be forced to lead a heart. West’s spade nine would become a winner en passant.”

Your partner's three spades should be initially interpreted as looking for a spade stopper for no-trump. But he may also be cuebidding, looking for slam, about to bid again. Either way, you should have no problem if you cuebid four clubs. Since you limited your hand at your previous turn, your partner won't expect you to have significant extras.


♠ 6
 10 7 6 3
 K Q J 10 9
♣ A K 8
South West North East
1 1♠ Dbl. 2♠
3 Pass 3♠ 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