Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.

Henry Ford

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

*Clubs, 10-15 points


The auction for the 1999 Cavendish Pairs generated comfortably over a million dollars, so everyone knew that good play would be rewarded in more ways than one. And today's deal was just such an example.

At one table where Neil Chambers and John Schirmer were South and North respectively, they managed to silence their opponents here; when East opened one club Chambers overcalled one diamond, and Schirmer simply jumped to three no-trump, making nine tricks in comfort. But reaching the 4-4 heart fit was not easy when East-West could bid and raise clubs — and of course, the five-club sacrifice is relatively cheap.

However, on our featured auction Fred Gitelman finished in five diamonds and when West led a helpful heart, Gitelman won in hand, crossed to dummy with a trump to ruff a club, then drew a second trump.

Next he cashed the heart ace to get the bad news, and now he found the neat maneuver of leading the club king to pitch a low spade. East won his ace (ducking does not beat the hand as declarer would subsequently set up a spade) and could not safely give a ruff-sluff.

In fact, East chose to play the spade ace and lead another spade, hoping that his partner had the jack, and now Gitelman had a home for his heart loser. But there was a resource available; after winning the club ace: East had to underlead his spade ace-queen to beat the hand. Would you have thought of it?

By partnership agreement the jump to three hearts was a splinter. In other words, your partner has primary diamond support — five or more cards – with game-forcing values and a singleton heart. Since you want to steer clear of no-trump and you have certainly not given up on slam, you should bid three spades, planning to cue-bid the heart ace at your next turn.


♠ K 10 9
 A 6 5 3
 K 7 5 2
♣ K 2
South West North East
1 1 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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact