Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

By viewing Nature, Nature's handmaid Art,
Makes mighty things from small beginnings grow.

John Dryden

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


Bridge strategies alter, depending on the form of scoring in use. Board-a-Match format makes overtricks vital — as witness this deal, which would be irrelevant at regular Teams scoring.

In one room Sue Picus and Alex Ornstein as East-West had held South’s three no-trump to nine tricks on a spade lead. Declarer won the lead, cashed his club and heart winners, then exited with ace and another diamond, but Picus unblocked a diamond honor under the ace to avoid being endplayed into giving declarer a spade trick.

In the other room four hearts looked as if it had 10 tricks — but Judi Radin did even better. She won the spade lead and ruffed a spade at once before crossing to hand in clubs and leading a third spade. Whether West ruffed did not matter. If he discarded, Radin would ruff low, unblock hearts, then cash the club ace and use the diamond ace as the re-entry to draw trump. West actually ruffed in with the heart nine, so Judi simply overruffed and drew trump.

Note that if Radin had cashed the club king at trick two, the entry position would have been compromised. Declarer can ruff two spades as before, but has to use the diamond ace as a re-entry to hand. Now when she leads the third club after ruffing two spades (not ruffed by West) and unblocking the trump ace, East trumps in with the heart 10 and promotes a heart trick for West.

Should you overcall one spade or two spades? This is partly a matter of the scoring and vulnerability. Nonvulnerable, my partners would expect a weaker hand for a jump overcall and we might undercompete, miss a game, or sacrifice unwisely. As against that, we DO make the opponents' life more unpleasant, so it is an issue that has no clear answer. Vulnerable, I think this is a two-spade call.


♠ K J 9 6 4 3
 10 7
 K Q 9
♣ J 7
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