Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

For still the craft of genius is
To mask a king in weeds.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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


One of the great players from an earlier time was Waldemar Von Zedwitz, whose achievements in the game included winning a world title while legally blind. He was one of the 10 original life masters, a partner of Harold Vanderbilt, the creator of contract bridge, and also the man who prevented the breakup of the American Contract Bridge League during one of its many periods of civil war in the early days of the game. He is credited with defending today's hand.

Against four spades Von Zedtwitz led the diamond jack, taken by South with the ace. Declarer cashed the spade ace, then erred by continuing with the spade king. Not surprisingly, there was now no reprieve against a defender of Von Zedtwitz’s skill. When South led a low club toward the dummy, West played the queen, allowing East to gain the lead on the second round of clubs so that West could escape the endplay that would otherwise have forced him to open up the heart suit for declarer’s benefit.

After East discarded on the spade ace, South should lead a club to the queen and king. He now plays the diamond queen, a diamond to dummy’s king, then leads a fourth diamond, throwing his remaining club away. West can win and play a low club, but South ruffs, and endplays West by playing the king and another trump, forcing West to broach the hearts.

This is close to the minimum for a raise to two hearts in competition. Weighing in against bidding are the minimum hand, the three bad trumps, and the defensive values in the opponents' suit. If the opponents had overcalled one spade or two clubs, it would be far clearer to raise. I suppose I would grudgingly bid two hearts, but give me a 3-3-4-3 hand pattern and I might consider passing.


♠ 10 8 7 3
 6 5 4
 K 8 7 6
♣ K 2
South West North East
1 2

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