Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

In youth my wings were strong and tireless,
But I did not know the mountains.
In age I knew the mountains
But my weary wings could not follow my vision —
Genius is wisdom and youth.

Edgar Lee Masters

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


Today's deal was sent to me by Cees Tammens from the White House Junior tournament in Amsterdam earlier this year. I am always happy to see junior bridge promoted, and this event sees top teams from all round the world coming together, in one of the few events devoted to the younger generation.

Norwegian Kristoffer Hegge came up with a neat play here, in his contract of four spades. After the sort of pre-empt that one tends to associate with juniors, West led his singleton diamond to the two, nine, and South’s ace.

Hegge cashed the spade king, followed by the spade jack to dummy’s ace, collecting all the trumps. Then he came off dummy with a small club, and East hopped up with the king to shift to a heart. Declarer took the heart ace, crossed to dummy with the spade nine, and played the club 10, on which he discarded his diamond five, letting West win his queen.

Now West was endplayed forced either to lead a heart and give up his trick in that suit, or to concede a ruff and sluff. Without the information of the diamond bid from East, declarer at the other table followed the more natural line of playing a diamond to the queen, losing two diamonds, a heart and a club for down one.

Incidentally, it would not have helped East to duck his club king. After stripping off the clubs, declarer would eventually have played three rounds of hearts to endplay West.

You have enough to move on with a try for game, but not enough to drive there. The best way to describe your hand is to bid three diamonds, which suggests this precise hand pattern and lets your partner decide where to head from there. This hand could play in game, slam or partscore — and in any of four possible strains — but you hope partner will know what to do at his next turn.


♠ K J 7 3 2
 A K 5 2
 A 7 5
♣ J
South West North East
1♠ Pass 1 NT Pass
2 Pass 2♠ 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