Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.

Eleanor Roosevelt

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


On today’s deal from the 2015 European Open Championships, the popular contract was four hearts, down on the bad trump break. Sylvie Willard did well in the auction when she stopped in two hearts, then even better in the play.

West led a spade to her partner’s ace, and on a spade return Willard inserted the nine, and drew trump. She could cross to dummy’s diamond ace now and take a spade finesse for her 10th trick. When East blanked her club king, Willard actually came to an 11th trick.

On the auction shown Geir Helgemo declared four hearts and won Kholomeev’s diamond king lead, to lead a spade up. East won the ace (which wasn’t fatal) and shifted to a trump, which was. Helgemo now tested trump, found the bad news, and played four rounds of the suit to put West on lead as East discarded the club jack, a low club and a low diamond. What was West to do now?

A diamond discard would cut the defenders’ communications and let declarer lead the club queen, covered all round, then take a spade finesse and endplay East to lead another spade. So West exited with a spade to the queen and king. Helgemo cashed his penultimate trump, pitching a diamond from dummy, and gave East three losing options. A spade would be immediately fatal, a diamond would transpose into the same ending above, so East pitched a club. Helgemo now could duck a club, taking a trump, two clubs and a spade for the last four tricks and all the matchpoints.

You do not really have enough values or guarantee of a fit to invite game here. You may not have the classic shape for a call of one no-trump, but that is what your hand suggests, being in the range 7-10 without spades, or club support, but with a heart stopper. You may be able to compete in diamonds later.


♠ 8 3
 J 10 9 2
 K Q 6 5 2
♣ K 3
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♣ 1

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

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