Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, June 1st, 2015

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

G. B. Shaw

E North
E-W ♠ K 10 8
 8 6 2
 K J 6
♣ K 10 6 2
West East
♠ Q J 9 7 4 3
 ? 9
 9 7 3
♣ 8 7
♠ 6 5
 ? 3
 A 8 4
♣ A Q J 9 5 4
♠ A 2
 K J 10 7 5 4
 Q 10 5 2
♣ 3
South West North East
      1 ♣
1 1 ♠ 2 ♣ 3 ♣
4 All pass    


In today’s deal the question marks in the diagrammed hand represent the queen and ace of hearts. It will be your task to identify the correct play in the trump suit when declaring four hearts.

You reach the heart game after East has opened one club, and has competed to three clubs. The defenders lead and continue clubs; you ruff the second one, West showing a doubleton. Now a spade to the king and a trump to East’s three and your….?

Here if East had the doubleton heart ace he should have risen with the ace and played a third club for the trump promotion. Unless you have a good reason to assume to the contrary, you should probably believe that your opponents would be good enough to find this defense. Presumably the best reason for their not following this line of defense was because East did not have the heart ace in the first place. So play a trump to the jack – a play that also caters for most of the 3-1 breaks too.

Of course your approach may vary depending on which of the opponents is threatening the overruff. You can imagine that on a different day it might be the case that if West gets on lead with the heart ace he could lead a suit to allow East to overruff dummy. In that scenario you might well lead a trump to the king, since playing a trump to the jack and ace would still lead to defeat for you.

If the afterlife consists of being faced with problems of this sort, I’m not sure I will enjoy it too much. With no passive lead available you have to guess which four-card suit to lead, and while the club suit is slightly more attractive to me, I will go for the major over the minor.


♠ J 8 7 2
 K J 2
 10 3
♣ K 9 4 2
South West North East
    Pass 1 NT
Pass 3 NT All 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


Michael BeyroutiJune 15th, 2015 at 9:41 am

The ultimate TOCM example!
Let Jim2 take it from here…

P.S. As long as there is bridge in the afterlife, I’m sure Bobby Wolff will enjoy it!…

bobby wolffJune 15th, 2015 at 10:56 am

Hi Michael,

Right on, but what if TOCM becomes an epidemic and I am infected?

I do not have Jim2’s patience, but if so, I would need to develop it, or else give up playing the game, but still be able to write about it.

jim2June 15th, 2015 at 3:58 pm


Iain ClimieJune 15th, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Hi Folks,

If you want a macabre thought on bridge, try a story in “The bridge players bedside companion” featuring a certain Mr. Kremelkopf. Shades of Sisyphus I suspect.



Iain ClimieJune 15th, 2015 at 5:29 pm

or maybe Groundhog Day……

bobby wolffJune 15th, 2015 at 8:24 pm

Hi Iain,

Although it may be a surprise to the innocent observer, your bridge library certainly appears to be more extensive than mine.

However, Groundhog Day reminds me of something both monstrous and sinister, much more meaningful than that little animal only seeing or not seeing his shadow.

And to Sisyphus I can only wish knowing who and what he (or she) represented. Remind me to not ever play any intellectual word games with you especially, (at least to me) involving obscure characters, but I will offer Judy as my surrogate.

Iain ClimieJune 15th, 2015 at 9:05 pm

Hi Bobby,

Sisyphus is the guy in Greek mythology who is sentenced to push a rock up a hill in Hades until it gets to the top. Each time he gets near, the object folks back down and he has to start again. A really horrible twist was put on the story by Terry Pratchett, British comic / fantasy author. His version has the poor guy forced to listen to hundreds of pages of health and safety regulations on the correct handling of heavy objects – even worse.

I’ll try to dig out the Mr. K(remelkopf) story but no longer have the book. If not, a precis will have to do. Any help from anyone would be gratefully received.



Iain ClimieJune 15th, 2015 at 9:05 pm

Sorry, rolls back down.