Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, April 17th, 2015

An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.

Niels Bohr

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


When Englishman Jack Mizel chose to play in the European Open Teams in San Remo with Brian Senior, he knew he was playing with an expert. And when you’re playing with an expert it is always tempting to expect him to justify your optimistic bidding.

At one table Mizel’s teammates had sacrificed in four hearts doubled and had conceded 800, which looked likely to be a small loss. However, the English North/South had a more exciting auction to reach slam, as shown below. And yes, Mizel as North was displaying rather more confidence in partner than the situation warranted.

The slam looks to have an inescapable loser in each black suit, as declarer can only discard three of dummy’s clubs on his diamonds. But look at what happened. West led the heart king, ruffed by declarer, who played a spade to the ace, ruffed dummy’s last heart, then cashed the spade king and then started running his diamonds.

In the four-card ending when declarer played his last diamond West had three unpalatable choices. He could trump, and be endplayed to give a ruff-sluff or open up clubs, or he could discard a heart and be thrown in with the spade jack to broach clubs. Finally, his actual choice was to test declarer by coming down to a singleton club. However, Senior had not come this far to go wrong in the ending. Since he had a complete count of the hand, he cashed the club ace, dropping West’s king and made his slam.

If you play that you can bid two clubs with this hand, and then make a non-forcing call in no-trump (or even pass a two heart rebid) you will probably elect to do just that. If you play two over one is game-forcing, or that a two-level response is game-forcing unless you rebid your suit, you must respond one no-trump, expecting, perhaps, to invite in no-trump at your next turn.


♠ A 8 6
 5 2
 A J 9
♣ Q 9 7 4 3
South West North East
  Pass 1 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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Dave Memphis MOJOMay 1st, 2015 at 6:14 pm

At the top, I see “About Bobby Wolff” and when I click on that, I see:

For more information, see his website at

When I click on this link, I get an error message. Has that link changed?

Iain ClimieMay 1st, 2015 at 9:57 pm

Hi Bobby,

With regard to today’s quote, I liked the purely phonetic joke that an ex is has been and a spurt is a drip under pressure. Felt like this after an 8 hr drive to get home after working away Mon to Friday in new job. Car accidents blocked major roads.

This is a reminder that work is the curse of the drinking and bridge-playing classes. Lovely play by Brian Senior, though, but North was lucky south had a heart void, surely. Hxxx would give me far more confidence.



HerremanAugust 18th, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Would you call this a strip squeeze ?