Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

But as I raved and grew more fierce and wild
At every word,
Methought I heard one calling ‘Child’.

George Herbert

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


When this deal came up in the final set of a knock-out match the pair sitting North-South were some way behind, which might partly explain (if not fully justify) the reason that North jumped to the grand slam. He expected that his partner would have extras for his combination of the cuebid and jump to slam, and he was hoping that the auction had made the club finesse a favorite to succeed. In a sense he had done well, because if the club finesse had lost, even six spades would have been in jeopardy.

On the lead of the diamond 10, declarer could see that the club finesse was necessary but it was by no mean sufficient. He would also need clubs to break 3-2.

After winning the opening lead and drawing two rounds of trumps, declarer could cross his fingers and take the club finesse. Then he cashed the club ace, and after that declarer’s remaining club was thrown on dummy’s heart winner.

The clubs were ruffed out, and the last trump was drawn with dummy’s jack. Declarer found himself taking six trump tricks, two hearts, a diamond and four clubs, 13 in all.

Of course when he came to score up the board, North-South discovered that the pair in the other room had stopped in game, so all the additional effort was unnecessary. By the way, in six spades on a diamond lead it looks right simply to play for a diamond ruff in dummy and to take the club finesse.

There is room for discussion as to what is right here. Some would rebid two clubs (unattractive with a five-card suit) some will rebid one no-trump — equally unattractive with a small doubleton in a side suit, to my mind. I prefer to raise to two spades, judging my good trump intermediates and sidesuit doubleton to offer as much as any four-card trump holding in a balanced hand.


♠ J 10 8
 A K 3
 9 7
♣ A Q 5 3 2
South West North East
1 ♣ 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


jim2June 9th, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Moving some cards around in the North column hand, how would North bid something like:


Bill CubleyJune 9th, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Grand slam vs game comparison makes me wonder why they were behind at all.

My personal record at IMPs is from the NA Swiss. We were plus 1660 and out teammates reported minus 170. Some days you can’t imagine why the opponents were so low.

I was not punched for overbidding when I discussed this with Shannon C. But she wondered how there was worse bidding than mine until I told her the opponents did not bid game.

bobby wolffJune 9th, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Hi Jim2,

Yes, there are certainly some inconsistencies in
bridge bidding (high-level, no less), but an aspiring partnership must distinguish the difference.

Often the priority, as here, concerns
itself with intelligent slam bidding or rather just looking for strain, not level. The good news is that more often both partners can confirm the trump suit before the control bidding starts, but here (both because of the suits chosen and, more importantly, the monkey wrench which East had thrown in, 3 diamonds) takes effect causing Jim2 to take the ball and run.

Then, unless the strong hand opponents have had important discussions, leading to agreement, chaos may reign and disaster is in
the air.

Good luck to every partnership who wants to
continue improving. To my knowledge, no one who shies away from hard and tedious work, will ever get there.

bobby wolffJune 9th, 2015 at 3:55 pm

Hi Bill,

Yes, like Betty Hutton singing “They are either too young or too old”, +1660 can turn into only +170.

Or are you either too young or too old to remember?

My guess is neither.

Iain ClimieJune 9th, 2015 at 10:07 pm

Hi Bobby, folks,

Sometimes you never know hoe things are going at teams. Years ago we played a 48 bd match in the UK’s Gold Cup in 4 * 12 board sets. We were 3 imps up after 12 when I held KQxx none AK10xxx xxx at adverse. Lho opened 1H, pard dbl’d and 4H upped the ante. Not thinking straight, I bid 4S and lho took the push, passed round to me. I felt I could only double and we got 300. I should have bid 5D xfirst round, then 5S but we’d missed 1430 or 1460 as pard had AJxx xxx Qxx AQx.

It looked poor but we knuckled down and fought & pushed with everything we had and had 12 plus scores. I apologised to team mates in advance but bd 13 went +300 (sorry) gain 6. Whaaat! Opener had a hand with 6C and 5H and had opened a precision 2C, pass, 2D asking but with rubbish pass (!) from my hand 2H pass 4H going one off . The oppo were happy with their caution then saw dummy. We gained heavily, but the match was mentally all over at that point.



bobby wolffJune 10th, 2015 at 1:44 am

Hi Iain,

No doubt that competitive bridge, especially at
certain decent levels, can be ridiculously exciting with its often changes of momentum.

The one thing for all of us to keep in mind is, to play one’s best at all times, since luck over a certain number of hands tends to break pretty close to even, sometimes allowing the turtles (plodders) to best the rabbits (dashers). Hang in there, or else be prepared to sleep in the streets.