Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.

Walter Scott

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


At Tromso last summer in the EBL Open Mixed Teams, Katrine Bertheau for the Casino Floor team found a pretty defense against her opponent’s four heart contract.

Bertheau led a spade to West’s ace and a second spade went round to the jack. Bertheau now played a third round of spades, forcing declarer to ruff in hand, in an attempt to gain control over the trump suit.

Declarer next played a diamond to the king and ran the heart queen. Bertheau correctly ducked, continuing her accurate defense, since if she had won and played a fourth spade, declarer could have ruffed in dummy to retain trump control. Declarer would have been entitled to relax when the first trump finesse succeeded, but his hopes were dashed when he continued with the heart 10 and Bertheau won to play a fourth round of spades. Since declarer was now forced to ruff in hand, West had wrested trump control from him, and established the setting trick.

That might had been a great IMP swing if Bertheau’s teammates had managed to make a game at the other table. But declarer stood no chance of making his five club contract when the heart king was offside. With spades 4-4, three no-trump was the only making game today.

For the record, it would have been possible to make four hearts on any lead with the sight of all four hands, if declarer could have avoided finessing hearts. The winning line is to cross-ruff and endplay West in trumps. But no one would find this at the table.

Your RHO appears to have opened light, given that he has passed out his partner’s response. Does that mean you should bid again? Far from it. Yes you have a sixth club, but you have no extra values, and your partner heard you overcall and didn’t act. You have no reason to assume he was asleep on the job and your spade suit strongly argues for caution. Sit back and defend two spades.


♠ 8 3 2
 Q 10
 K 2
♣ A Q J 8 7 5
South West North East
  Pass Pass 1
2 ♣ 2 ♠ Pass 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