Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

In Politics if thou would'st mix,
And mean thy fortunes be;
Bear this in mind, be deaf and blind,
Let great folk hear and see.

Robert Burns

South North
North-South ♠ 10 5 4 2
 Q 10 9 7 2
 K 8 5
♣ 2
West East
♠ K 6
 J 10 4 3
♣ K Q J 8 7 6
♠ J 9 8 3
 9 7
♣ A 10 9 5 4 3
♠ A Q 7
 A K J 6 4 3
 A Q 6 2
♣ —
South West North East
1♣* 3♣ Dbl. 6♣
6 All pass    

*Strong (at least 16 HCP)


Party politics are set aside at the annual bridge match in London between the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Today's hand, from the 2002 contest, features John Marek, the strongest player of either house.

Pity Marek — he had intended conducting a constructive auction, and here he was, with neither he nor his partner, Lewis Mooney, having mentioned a genuine suit, required to make a decision at slam level. He bravely bid six hearts, against which West led a club. When dummy came down, South saw that he had guessed well, but even so, the slam was not laydown, since there were two possible spade losers.

Marek ruffed the club lead, drew trumps, then eliminated diamonds, trumping his fourth in dummy. He now knew 11 of West’s cards: six clubs (at least), four diamonds and one heart, leaving room for a maximum of two spades. Next came a low spade from dummy. Had East played low, Marek would have inserted the seven to endplay West. But East alertly contributed the eight.

Declarer carefully rejected the spade finesse, and instead rose with the ace. He then led a trump to dummy and played a second spade. When East followed low, declarer went in with his queen. West could win, but Marek didn’t mind that, as he knew West had no spade to return and would be endplayed into leading a club for a ruff and discard, allowing the slam to come home.

Your first call limited your hand to about a nine-count, and when partner invites game in full knowledge of this, you must move on to game by bidding four hearts. After all, you have a decent hand, a fifth trump and great intermediates, plus some extra shape. To pass here would imply great distrust of partner's judgment.


♠ 10 5 4 2
 Q 10 9 7 2
 K 8 5
♣ 2
South West North East
2 Dbl. Pass
2 Pass 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