Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.

Pablo Picasso

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


Recently I have shown you some deals originally written up in Dutch IMP magazine, which were played by the GIB computer, developed by Matthew Ginsberg.

Here GIB correctly tackles a set hand prepared by the master teacher Fred Gitelman. South plays six no-trump after a three-heart pre-empt by West, who leads the spade 10. How should declarer develop the diamonds and hearts to get an extra trick from each suit?

After taking two clubs to get the count in that suit, declarer leads the diamond jack from dummy. East can see that if he takes the ace and continues diamonds, declarer will cash his clubs and spades, ending in dummy, and West will be subjected to a simple squeeze in the red suits.

So East ducks the diamond, but South has no realistic chance except to rise with the king, and rattle off his black-suit winners, first the clubs, pitching hearts from dummy, then the spades.

After the last spade, dummy has one heart and two diamonds, while declarer has his two hearts and a small diamond. Since West has to keep two hearts, he must come down to the bare diamond queen. East has three diamonds to the ace left; when a diamond is led from dummy, what does he do?

If East rises with the ace, he crashes his partner’s queen and sets up dummy’s diamond for the 12th trick. So East ducks, and West is thrown in, forced to lead a heart into South’s tenace. Contract made!

Every partnership should have an agreement as to which passes of redoubles are to play, and which ask partner to bid, simply indicating "nothing to say." Partner's second pass ought to be for penalties; the opponents have not announced a fit and your partner must surely have a four-card suit to bid. So if he chooses to pass, he must have clubs, and you should be happy to defend.


♠ A K Q J
 5 4 3 2
 J 10 9
♣ Q J
South West North East
1♣ Pass Pass
Dbl. Rdbl. Pass 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


jim2September 21st, 2013 at 11:17 am

I am not sure I agree with the BWTA answer.

What’s missing is what the OPPONENTs’ agreement is on passing the redouble.

That is, North knew South would get another bid but East knew that West might not.

Bobby WolffSeptember 21st, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Hi Jim2,

Of course, you are correct with your admonition.

However, it refers to what goes into making a first class pair, assuming that is the partnership’s intention.

As you allude, there is much to discuss, hash out, settle conflicting opinions, be together in what constitutes top level bridge logic, be responsible to remember it (although sometimes almost never coming up in practice), but then, at least, being compassionate when misunderstandings occur.

Never forget, bridge partnership competition, particularly at a very high world level, is ultra demanding, and in reality causes much anxiety, especially when event changing decisions depend on it.

The above is what some players refer to when they discuss the necessity for team chemistry which, of course, merely suggests the responsibility of all pairs on the team have to one another, both in talent, love for each other, and forcing ourselves to be in a position to play our best.

Since it directly contradicts the effect some (and I use that word advisedly) professional partnerships bring to a specific team, convinces me (because of my administrative experience) that allowing a less competent player (and I certainly would relax my playing expectations when they are involved) should be carefully gauged by the organizers, before allowing players at too low a level to play internationally representing their country, namely the USA.

If I was to say, the BUCK (pun intended) should stop there in top level international representation for our country to allow players below that level to compete in the most important world tournaments. Nothing more or less necessary to say except that area needs to be policed, otherwise our greatest worldwide events are basically a fraud, certainly not in serving the professionals with great paydays, but to the game itself, and especially the dignity of our country, we need to show more respect or, at the very least, accept our hypocrisy.

Many other big time sports and in our country, have somewhat similar problems in not allowing our college athletes to be paid until they turn professional, but, at least to me, that is the responsibility of our administrative arm, and when that arm is also made up of people with conflicting self-interests, the justice (and the future of the game) become seriously in jeopardy.

Not an easy problem to solve, but until we do, the world will never know what a truly great, best ever mind game, we are dealing with. Money, as it so often is, the root of many evils and infests human ability to be the best they can be, a cherished goal always to keep in the highest perspective.