Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Love, and a cough, cannot be hid.

George Herbert

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


Guessing how to deal with powerhouses like South's in competition is really a lottery. Since you can never expect partner to cooperate, my advice is just guess whether to go high or low and hope to be lucky.

That was what today’s South did, and when North put down his dummy in six hearts, he apologized to his partner for offering him so little. South thanked him gravely and said that like the curate’s egg, parts of it were excellent.

After the lead of the diamond four to the nine and ace, declarer cashed the heart ace, then carefully led the heart eight to dummy’s 10. Now declarer played a club toward his hand. East knew declarer had at least two clubs, so he ducked, as good as anything, and the club king scored. South exited with a club and East overtook his partner’s nine to lead a spade through. Declarer scored his spade ace, crossed to dummy by leading his trump two to the three, then ruffed a club to isolate the menace, and ran his trumps, pitching a spade and diamond from dummy.

To keep the master club, East discarded a diamond, and South took the last three tricks in diamonds to make his slam.

Notice that declarer has to preserve the extra trump entry to dummy in order to ruff out the clubs and isolate the menace with East. If he does not do so, West keeps the club and spade masters and the squeeze fails.

Had the opponents not intervened, you would probably have responded one diamond, but here there is a decent case for raising to two clubs. You want a club lead if your LHO declares a major. You take away a round of bidding from him, and you may help partner compete for the partscore.


♠ Q 4 2
 6 5
 J 10 9 5
♣ A J 10 5
South West North East
Pass 1♣ Dbl.

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


Iain ClimieAugust 23rd, 2014 at 10:10 am

HI Bobby,

I hope tyou’ll forgive the following totally facetious contribution (although I liked today’s hand, and isolating the menace is often essential). There is an old saying “A healthy mind in a healthy body – mens sana in corpore sano being the original)” and this suggests that mind sports like bridge can be useful and healthy as well as physical activity. Of course some will decry this, and put excessive emphasis on time in the gym, sneering at the need for keeping the brain in trim. I just penned the following to a UK newspaper – I hope it is amusing.

“My local gym recently fitted more advanced equipment, which doubtless took considerable effort to develop and resources to make. Off I went to to an air-conditioned and well lit (albeit sweaty) room and tried a new cross-trainer. 30 mins (and 360 kcal) later, I was rewarded by a congratulatory message. I had stored enough energy to run an energy-efficient light bulb for two minutes. “OFDS (Oh For Duck’s Sake)!” I screamed inwardly. “How much misplaced ingenuity was spent to calculate this and was that all the energy which could be recovered?”

I’ll still go to the gym, but clearly need to offset its impact, given the human lard I turned into CO2. My fitness can be used to grow more fruit and veg, while a wind-up torch is a better light source for bedtime reading. ”



Iain ClimieAugust 23rd, 2014 at 11:20 am

Also, less flippanty, on a spade lead and continuation after the CA, or on a trump lead, South has to make sure he doesn’t win (or ruff in) cheaply with a low trump. Beware Greek gifts (Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes) – clearly the effects of being up at 3.55 am to run my eldest daughter to the airport have turned my brain back to Latin some of the time.

bobby wolffAugust 23rd, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Hi Iain,

If, in fact, your brain being turned back to Latin or where ever else it has wandered, it remains still, nothing short of magnificent.

In only two comments (301 words plus 2 for a salutation) you have done the UK a great favor, presenting a small, but sometimes frivolous gym renovation project complete with unneeded statistics designed to ingratiate themselves by verbally pleasing some gullible health aficionados.

Along with, you have added an important clarifying description on “isolating the menace” a 70+ years ago apt description of a necessary ingredient in many squeeze endings and a crucial (at least to me) family friendly task of taking your “lucky” eldest daughter to the airport in the middle of the night.

To complete your very positive character you speak in timeless Latin, educating me (and, no doubt others) where and how other languages have created their own melodies.

All of the above, again to me, emphasizes the need to exercise the mind as well as the body and you do so in a glorious and very persuasive way.

If only you worked for the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) in my home country as a bridge loving marketing director, bridge would already be part of the curriculum in our primary and secondary schools, perhaps having begun first in our charter schools.

And, as frosting on the cake, both bodies and, above all, minds, would be treated to longer, happier and healthier lives.

Your post is coming at the same time the world’s bridge youth is competing in Istanbul, Turkey for the various age categories entered from around the world. With you involved in the proper way (or perhaps any way), the attendance would, no doubt be 10 to 100 fold.

And you suggest facetious? Are you kidding me?

Please excuse me, but “I Can Dream, Can’t I”?

Iain ClimieAugust 23rd, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Hi Bobby,

Very kind of you, and much appreciated, but there are days when my wife and kids would tell you “isolating the menace” would involve locking me in the garage!