Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 17th, 2014

The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.

Edward Phelps

South North
Neither ♠ A 8 3 2
 J 8 7 3
 10 8 6 4
♣ K
West East
♠ 5 4
 9 7 5 3 2
♣ Q 10 8 6 4
♠ Q J 10
 Q 5 4 2
 K J
♣ A J 5 3
♠ K 9 7 6
 A K 10 6
 A Q
♣ 9 7 2
South West North East
1 NT Pass 2♣ Pass
2 Pass 4 All pass


The Italians currently have the world's best team, but bridge is a game of mistakes and they make theirs, just like everyone else, even if not quite so many as other people. See if you can improve on the Italian cardplay on this deal.

Against South’s four hearts, reached after an uninterrupted auction, West led the club four, playing third and lowest leads, to the king and ace, and East switched to the spade queen. The Italian declarer won in hand, ruffed a club, played a heart to his ace, and ruffed his last club with the heart jack. Now he played a diamond to the king and ace, followed by a spade to his ace and another spade, won by East’s jack. East got off lead with the diamond jack, and when declarer played the heart king, he found the bad break, which meant he had to lose two more trump tricks one way or another.

The winning line is to play a spade in the four-card ending. East ruffs this and either plays a trump — allowing the finesse — or a club, which declarer can ruff low in hand and overruff in the dummy, to lead a diamond for the trump coup.

There were good reasons to suspect trumps were going to break 4-1. The 5-2 diamond break looked highly probable, and East was known to have precisely three spades. Moreover, West’s lead of the club four (once East had released the club three) meant he strongly rated to have led from a five-card suit.

On this auction there is a very good case to play three clubs as your second negative and not two no-trump. The logic is that, with three no-trump a very likely final contract, you want the strong hand to be declarer — so the lead runs up to it, rather than coming through it. Therefore, I would bid three clubs here to deny values.


♠ 5 4
 9 7 5 3 2
♣ Q 10 8 6 4
South West North East
2♣ 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact