Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 30th, 2013

Big Brother is watching you.

George Orwell

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


P. Hal Sims was one of the giants, literally and metaphorically, of the early days of contract bridge. He stood 6 feet 4 inches and weighed over 300 pounds. He and his wife, Dorothy, the inventor of the psychic bid, were a formidable partnership, who took on the Culbertsons in one of the early challenge matches.

Sims was also one of the original members of the Four Horsemen, the first of the powerful squads at contract bridge in the early 1930s. Sims was credited with defending this hand.

Against South’s contract of three no-trump, Sims led a fourth-highest spade six. North took his king and returned the spade two. Sims won the spade ace and played back the spade 10 to declarer’s jack, establishing his spade eight as a winner.

South now played the heart ace and a low heart to the queen and king. Judging that the hearts were 2-4, declarer now played a diamond to the king, felling the queen, giving declarer a chance to guess West’s entire distribution.

Placing West as having begun with 5-2-1-5 shape, declarer exited with a spade to Sims’ eight. If Sims had cashed his remaining spade, East would eventually have been squeezed in the red suits. (This is an unfortunate maneuver known as a suicide squeeze or fratricide squeeze.) Instead Sims exited with the club queen, and declarer had no chance to exert any pressure on the defense for the ninth trick.

Despite the absence of even a half-stopper in diamonds, it feels sensible to me to advance with a call of one no-trump. The main reason for showing a few values here is to let your side find a better fit than spades, if there is one. It also allows partner to compete again if necessary, knowing you have scattered values.


♠ Q 9
 K J 7 5
 7 6 4 2
♣ K 6 5
South West North East
1 1♠ 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


Patrick CheuSeptember 14th, 2013 at 6:30 am

Hi Bobby,wonder how you might play this spade suit in 4 spades:J8742-Q63?North-Q63 Q2 A7 AK10973 East-A9 J1064 10432 864 South-J8742 K93 KJ86 Q West-K105 A875 Q95 J52.Bidding went:East 1C-1S-2C-2D-3S-4S.West led AH and a heart.Declarer plays a spade to the Jack,and subsequently loses the QS to Ace,ducking second round works.Is this just a guess or playing for split honours is the percentage action,as North was silent and turns up with Ace of hearts and king of spades? Four spades was made +1 by pairs in it,but not on this lead.Regards~Patrick.

Patrick CheuSeptember 14th, 2013 at 6:33 am

Hi Bobby,sorry typing error-North 1C,not East.Hand rotated.