Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.

Peter McIntyre

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


Today’s deal features Doug Doub, who took something of a flyer in the auction, then had to justify his confidence in his own play – which he did to perfection.

Against the spade slam West led the club king, and correctly decided that South had no more clubs – or he would never have jumped to slam. So West intelligently shifted to the diamond jack, breaking up communications for a possible minor-suit squeeze on himself later on.

Deducing from the overcall that East was more likely to have trump length than his partner, Doub carefully unblocked in trump by playing the spade jack to the king. Then he ran the trump eight, West showing out.

Doub now saw that there would be no problem in coming to the slam if hearts broke 3-2. Trump could be drawn via the finesse; the heart king would be cashed, then the heart jack would be overtaken and declarer could discard his losing diamonds on the hearts. But this line would fail if hearts were 4-1.

Doub found an answer to cover all the bases: a trump coup on East. For this to succeed, declarer had to reduce his trump length, then run his winners ending in dummy. So without drawing any more trump, Doub ruffed a club in hand – and was now down to two trumps in hand. Next came the heart king, then the jack, intending to overtake that card if West followed.

When West showed out, Doub ruffed a diamond, then led hearts; and East could fold his cards, since his trump trick would evaporate.

Nothing is quite perfect, but a simple rebid in hearts comes as close as you can get to describing your assets. Yes, spades or no-trump might play better, but you have the sort of hand that suggests, if there is a game, it rates to be in hearts. Never raise partner’s second suit with only three trump unless there is no alternative. There certainly is here, but you aren’t worth an invitation to three hearts.


♠ K 8 4
 A Q 7 6 5 3
♣ 10 8 5
South West North East
    1 Pass
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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact