Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.

Jane Austen

S North
None ♠ 8 5
 K J 3
 K Q 8 7
♣ J 9 8 6
West East
♠ Q J 9 7 4 2
 J 9 4 3 2
♣ 5 3
♠ 10 6
 A Q 8 6 5 2
 10 6 5
♣ 4 2
♠ A K 3
 10 9 7 4
♣ A K Q 10 7
South West North East
1 ♣ 2 ♠ 3 ♣ Pass
6 ♣ All pass    


Today’s trick question: How do you play a suit of 10-9 fourth in hand facing K-J third in dummy? You are in a slam and can afford one loser only. Before answering the question you might want to know more about the hand. After all, it can sometimes be right to play the critical suit immediately and put the opponent with the ace under pressure; sometimes it is better to find out more about the rest of the hand first.

But there is a third answer, as today’s deal will show. South had contracted, not very scientifically, for six clubs, and West led the spade queen. After winning, declarer drew trump in two rounds, cashed his diamond ace and ruffed a spade in dummy. Then came the diamond king and queen (on which South discarded two hearts) and a fourth round of diamonds.

None of this seems to help with the problem of playing the hearts, until you reflect on what happened while declarer was embarking on his voyage of discovery with the spades and the diamonds.

East discarded one heart on the third round of spades and another on the fourth round of diamonds. Therefore he started life with two spades, three diamonds and two clubs – and must hold all the missing hearts.

The solution to the problem is simply to discard a third heart from hand on the diamond eight. West wins, but with no hearts in his hand, he has to concede a ruff and discard, and now South’s remaining losing heart goes away.

This is not the moment to introduce a three-card major. Your practical choices are to bid clubs — and you could choose between the simple call and the jump – or the bid of one no-trump. For many reasons I prefer the one notrump call. This directs partner’s attention towards the most practical game, while showing scattered values and a diamond stopper. How bad can that be?


♠ 8 5
 K J 3
 K Q 8 7
♣ J 9 8 6
South West North East
  1 Dbl. 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


Iain ClimieJune 1st, 2016 at 9:12 am

Hi Bobby,

Shades of Mollo’s Rueful Rabbit or TOCM. It would be all too easy to misguess the hearts or even find West leading one from shortage, but the lucky 6-0 heart break rides to the rescue.



A V Ramana RaoJune 1st, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Hi Dear Mr. Wolff
Another interesting possibility is even if east turns up with J , ten and nine diamond four / five carded, south prevails by discarding heart on the fourth diamond as long as east holds heart Ace. ( West for reasons best known to him might not have led a heart) And of course in the present case it is a certainity

A V Ramana RaoJune 1st, 2016 at 2:53 pm

Pl ignore my comment .
A blind spot

bobby wolffJune 1st, 2016 at 3:26 pm

Hi Iain,

Yes, bridge being the master, plus creating these aberrant distributions dealt by that fickle damsel, Dame Fortune, makes us pause for wonder.

Leave it to you to beautifully describe what happened, relying on both Victor Mollo and Jim2 for reference.

I, might very well and at trick 4 (after winning the spade and drawing trumps at tricks 2 & 3) lead a heart, if only for reaction from LHO in order to guess what I might deem as inevitable.

Down I would go like a stone and only later recognize my heinous error. Such is life when, in order to deceive, the tangled web I intended to weave, does us in, instead of our still standing opponents.

Is bridge a spectacular game, or what?

bobby wolffJune 1st, 2016 at 3:34 pm


Blind spots are common and happen to all of us.

Besides your bridge loving plus your kind and thoughtful normal responses often add luster to our site. From the above, both you and I are confessing to what makes bridge the great game it is… times simply confounding.

Welcome to the club!

L’apertura di un conto on-line della banca e la gestione
on-line รจ molto semplice.

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