Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 15th, 2012

On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia.

epitaph of W.C. Fields

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

*Texas transfer to spades


This deal was declared by John Crawford, a great American player of the early postwar years. I've substituted an auction that might occur today. After an opening call of two no-trump, it is common to play transfers at both the three- and four-level. The Texas transfer at the four-level is either to play or to be followed by Blackwood, while a transfer and raise is a mild slam-try.

Against four spades West led the heart two and Crawford took East’s heart king with the ace. Next he played the spade king, followed by the spade jack to the ace. Then came a heart to the nine and 10. West now shifted to clubs, declarer capturing East’s 10 with his ace.

Crawford next played the heart jack from his hand and discarded the club jack when West covered this with the queen. West did his best when he exited with a club, which was ruffed in dummy. Now the spade five to the queen allowed Crawford to eliminate the club suit by ruffing the club in dummy. Finally came a diamond to the 10, and when West won the diamond queen, he then had either to lead a diamond or concede a ruff-and-discard. Either way Crawford had his 10th trick.

It is hard to criticize West unduly, but a black-suit lead would have seen four spades fail since declarer does not have the timing right for the endplay on West.

Responding one no-trump suggests approximately these values and is a perfectly reasonable call. It is the action I would take unless facing a third-in-hand opening bid. But your hand looks very defensively oriented to me, so I would give partner a little latitude and take the more discreet route of passing and seeing what happens next.


♠ 6
 Q 10 6 2
 K Q 8 4
♣ 9 7 6 2
South West North East
Pass Pass 1♠ Dbl.

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


John Howard GibsonSeptember 29th, 2012 at 7:29 pm

HBJ : Yet another instructive hand , where the loser-on-a-loser sets up the masterful end play.. or the ruff and sluff.
Declarer has obviously engineered the play to select his three losers as 2H and 1D . Most mortals will pin their faith on losing 1C,1D and 1H.
Seeing that superior safer route to 4S…. whatever the diamond layout….is what good bridge is all about. Lazy thinking will… as always…. continue to be my curse. Yours HBJ

bobby wolffSeptember 30th, 2012 at 3:47 pm


As usual you always seem to catch the majestic mastery of the moment.

MET does the job, Mindset, Execution, and Technique which reminds me of John McKay, a famous college football coach (American type) of bygone years from the University of Southern California (USC), once replied when asked about in their previous game (they had lost) “What he thought of his team’s execution? “I am in favor of it”.