Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 5th, 2012

Once upon a time I was falling in love but now I'm only falling apart.
There’s nothing I can do, a total eclipse of the heart.

Bonnie Tyler

West North
Both ♠ K 10
 9 6
 A J 7 5
♣ K Q 7 4 2
West East
♠ A J 7 4
 Q 10
 6 4 2
♣ A 8 5 3
♠ Q 9 8 5 3
 A 8
 9 8 3
♣ J 10 9
♠ 6 2
 K J 7 5 4 3 2
 K Q 10
♣ 6
South West North East
Pass 1♣ Pass
1 Pass 1 NT Pass
3 Pass 4 All pass


When this deal originally appeared it came with the punning subtitle from the Bonnie Tyler song: "It's a heart eight, nothing but a heart eight."

Norberto Bocchi, the hero of the deal, was complaining about what a bad card-holder his partner was on this deal. Quite a few of the field had reached four hearts by North after a weak no-trump. At those tables, after a club lead, West won the ace, cashed the spade ace, then played another spade. Since West had produced two aces, declarer was not hard-pressed to get hearts right. In fact, 16 of 22 declarers made 10 tricks in their heart contracts.

In our featured room, Bocchi sat West, and on an informative auction, led the spade ace and shifted to the diamond two. Believing the opponents’ count-cards, declarer played four rounds of diamonds, discarding his club, hoping that whichever defender ruffed would weaken his trump holding. Bocchi now knew his partner must have the heart ace, and seeing the trump nine in dummy, thoughtfully ruffed with the heart queen. His expectation was that declarer would win the spade return on the board and pass the heart nine.

Alas for him, when declarer led the heart nine from dummy East’s irritating heart eight got in the way. Declarer now knew to go up with the king (on the assumption that East would have covered from the 10-8 (by no means a sure thing, incidentally) and hold his trump losers to one.

This second double is takeout, not optional. You would pass only with real spades, so the only question is whether to make a natural call in no-trump or bid a minor. My instincts are to bid three diamonds, since this sounds like extra values or extra shape, and I have not given up on game yet.


♠ K 10
 9 6
 A J 7 5
♣ K Q 7 4 2
South West North East
1♣ 1♠ Dbl. 2♠
Pass Pass 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