Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, September 14th, 2015

Knowledge may give weight, but accomplishments give luster, and many more people see than weigh.

Earl of Chesterfield

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


All the deals this week come from the later stages of the women’s teams championships in Montreal. Both Norths doubled a one heart bid, but at one table in the finals Judi Radin as East jumped to three hearts, and Irina Levitina bid three spades, then doubled Valerie Westheimer’s four heart call.

After a spade lead to the ace followed by the club 10 shift, Kerri Sanborn cashed the second spade, then got out with a third spade. Declarer eventually built an entry to dummy to take the losing heart finesse, in a position where there were certainly some indications that leading to the heart king was the right play (the combination of no four spade call from North and the final double by South). Down 500.

In our featured room Disa Eythorsdottir did reach four spades. Jill Meyers led a top club, ducked, and now a top club continuation is best. Meyers gave declarer a chance when she played the diamond ace and another diamond, as Randi Montin encouraged. When Disa won the king and drew all the trumps, she could now get one pitch for her heart loser, but still had to lose two clubs and two diamonds. Down one.

The winning line was to play West for the 2-5-2-4 shape that the defense at the table had perhaps suggested. Go up with the diamond king at trick three, and ruff two hearts in dummy using trumps as a re-entry to your hand. Then draw a second round of trumps and you can now set up the fourth diamond to pitch your losing club, since West has no trumps left.

Clearly, you are going to lead a minor, so the question is whether to pick the more aggressive or more passive option. Dummy rates to put down only four (or perhaps five) cards in the minors. It looks natural to me to try to cash winners if you can, before declarer discards losers from one suit on the other (or on dummy’s hearts). That being the case, I’ll go for a club rather than a diamond.


♠ K 6 2
 Q 8 3 2
 10 7 2
♣ Q 8 7
South West North East
  1 Pass 1 ♠
Pass 2 ♠ Pass 4 ♠
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


Iain ClimieSeptember 29th, 2015 at 8:46 am

Hi Bobby,

Does your final suggested line on today’s hand actually work though? You set up dummy’s diamond winner but east exits with a trump or a heart at the end and you can’t get to it. What am I missing? There again, it is (or was) a Monday…



David WarheitSeptember 29th, 2015 at 9:04 am

Iain: what you’re missing is that dummy still has the CA. Have a nice sleep!

Iain ClimieSeptember 29th, 2015 at 9:20 am

Hi David,

Awake as usual; I’d say “well spotted” but I think checking the state of my brain which just missed the blatantly obvious would be more appropriate. Based on this, I confidently expect to count the diamond suit (my usual blind spot) as being 5-4-3-2 or similar round the table when I play tonight on at least two hands. I need a holiday!



bobby wolffSeptember 29th, 2015 at 6:17 pm

But Iain,

Holidays are when most bridge is played, when work stops interfering with bliss, in the name of bridge.

And my attempt at psychology, perhaps diamonds have become a blind spot to you for fear of not being able to present one at the proper time, like proposing to your beautiful better half. And thoughts could get worse like in my case one so-called friend once called Judy my better-two/thirds.