Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 21st, 2015

I have suffered from being misunderstood, but I would have suffered a heck of a lot more if I had been understood.

Clarence Darrow

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


One of the more curious experiences I have had in scoring up recently came on a hand from a team game from a Las Vegas regional tournament. I sat East, and defended four hearts, after having been tempted to take the sacrifice in four spades, which would probably have escaped for down one.

When my partner led the diamond queen I could infer that he had enough spade length to make that lead unattractive. Though I could not see a legitimate way to defeat the hand, I elected to duck the first trick. When declarer played on trump I won and cashed my club ace, then underled in diamonds to get my club ruff and defeat the game.

Since declarer could have made the hand by returning a diamond at trick two (a form of Scissors Coup to cut the defenders’ communications) I was quietly confident as we came back to score up. Our teammates announced “minus 50” and though I said nothing at the time, I was a little disappointed. I waited to ask what had happened until the meal-break. South said that the opponents had simply led spades to trick one, then ducked the first trump, won the next and continued leading spades at every turn. Declarer could not manage the triple task of drawing trump, setting up clubs, and establishing the diamond king, without running out of trump!

Sometimes the easiest defenses to find, in theory, are the hardest to discover at the table.

It feels wrong to pass out two diamonds, even though our side doesn’t have a great fit anywhere. I think doubling here just shows a good hand, not a trump stack. But if partner passes it out with a balanced hand I can’t believe that will work out too badly for our side.


♠ A 10 8
 Q J 2
 6 5 3
♣ K 10 4 2
South West North East
Pass 1 Dbl. 1
2 ♣ 2 Pass 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

1 Comment

Bill CubleySeptember 9th, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Sometimes our best bridge gets us an average at pairs or a push at teams.