Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 19th, 2015

[Man] Placed on this isthmus of a middle state, A being darkly wise and rudely great.

Alexander Pope

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


The Dyspeptics Club is a place where the kibitzers come as much for the post mortem as they do to watch the bridge. Zero Tolerance is not part of the club’s bylaws, and while the members draw the line at physical violence, verbal outrages are considered the norm, and some would say, positively encouraged.

In today’s deal South played four hearts by winning the top spade lead in hand, drawing trump, then playing the club ace, king and a third club. West had supinely failed to unblock his club queen on the second round of the suit, so he was forced to give the lead to dummy and declarer had 10 tricks.

As South waited for applause from his partner, and East gnashed his teeth at his partner’s incompetence, North wryly remarked that if South was half as good as he thought he was, he would still be twice as good as he actually was. Why was he unhappy with his partner?

Declarer must duck the spade queen; he wins the next one with the ace, cashes the club ace and king, throws a club on the spade king, then ruffs the clubs good. Next he draws three rounds of trump ending in dummy, so that he can cash the established club as his 10th trick.

Incidentally, if West has a 3-3-5-2 shape with all the high diamond honors, declarer might still succeed. He strips off all West’s black cards and after drawing trump leads a low diamond to endplay West to lead diamonds round to the king.

My general advice to you with a 10-count and a balanced hand with no source of tricks is to raise to two hearts (constructive in the context of a forcing no-trump base). This hand is one of the rare exceptions where your good trump spots and excellent controls mean that even with a 4-3-3-3 pattern, you could sensibly choose between either the simple raise or the limit raise, via the forcing no-trump.


♠ K 5 2
 K 10 9
 9 6 3
♣ A 7 5 4
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