Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 7th, 2016

You don’t need to know all the answers. No one is smart enough to ask you all the questions.


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


How much should a vulnerable preempt deliver? I prefer intermediate jumps when at unfavorable vulnerability, and my vulnerable double jumps are typically better than an opening preempt. On that basis, both South’s three heart overcall and North’s raise were at the aggressive end of the spectrum.

How would you play four hearts on the lead of the club jack? First things first: it is important to duck at trick one. This helps to preserve your entries and keep control. West now needs to switch to a trump to prevent you ruffing a club in dummy (which he may not find it so easy to do from, say, Q-x-x).

However, this time East takes his partner off the hook by overtaking with the club queen, and does find the trump switch. It is disappointing to see West show out on the second round of trump.

East’s defense so far has strongly suggested the diamond finesse will lose, so it looks best to play a diamond to the ace and ruff a diamond. Now exit with a trump from hand, and East wins and plays back a club to dummy’s ace. When you cash the diamond queen, discarding your last club, East ruffs in, and has only black suits left. You should not misguess on a spade return (East would not jeopardize his sure trick), and on a club return, you ruff and run all your trump, squeezing West in spades and diamonds. To keep diamonds guarded he must bare his spade king, and now your spade loser vanishes.

Although you may be turning a plus score into a minus score, this hand feels like it is worth a jump to three diamonds, an invitational sequence suggesting this general pattern. Your partner will be able to judge that a fitting diamond card is going to be very useful for three no-trump to have any practical play.


♠ A 10 9 5
 A Q 10 9 6 3
♣ A 7
South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
1 ♠ Pass 1 NT 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


Bill CubleyJuly 21st, 2016 at 1:51 pm

Great quote! Wish I was in DC seeing tou and Judy

bobbywolffJuly 21st, 2016 at 4:02 pm

Hi Bill,

Agree! Good questions rather than answers are the true measure of the man (or woman and, already in the making, to be, brilliant children).

Judy and I will, in a sense, be joining you away from DC during the Nationals, since for some years now have stopped attending them for no one particular reason other than logistics, difficult travel conditions, and of course, advancing age.

However, you being a proverbial spring chicken, deserve to be there, with all your friends.

Thanks for the upbeat note.



Judy Kay-WolffJuly 21st, 2016 at 5:10 pm


I never thought I would ever see the day when I don’t bat an eye (or even eyelash) when the NABCs come and go without the presence of The Wolves. From what I have been reading about (all the ugly situations, relationships, failed administrative challenges, rising costs which appalled me, etc.) .. I can say in all sincerity I do not wish I were there. The internet reports will have to suffice. However, I do greatly miss seeing soooooooooo many friends Bobby and I have made over the years (each in our own spectrum — but many in common).

Good luck and safe trip to all who ventured to our nation’s capitol. If I remember correctly, Washington may have been my first National and I was spellbound. Those were the days!