Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 21st, 2016

Virtue has its own reward but no box office.

Mae West

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

*Two plus clubs, 11-13 or 17+


The fall nationals start this week in Orlando, so we shall be running deals all week from the championships in Denver at this time last year.

This deal was played in the second session of the Nail Life Master Pairs and goes to prove that not all accurately played hands produce great results. The field played in four hearts on this deal on a diamond lead to the king and ace. With trumps 2-2 and the club ace wrong, 10 tricks was the universal result. What’s the big deal then?

The point is that after East has overcalled one diamond, when West leads the diamond seven you must duck in dummy at the first trick. Imagine that the cards lie as in the diagram but put the heart five in the West hand and the club three in the East hand.

Here, if you go up with the diamond king at the first trick, East wins and plays a trump. Try and make it now! When declarer plays a club to the king and ace, East exits in clubs, and from there on in you can no longer take the two ruffs in dummy you need.

By contrast if you play low from dummy on the opening diamond lead, East wins the jack, but you can later arrange to draw trump and ruff out the diamond ace. In this way you will establish for yourself two discards of a club and a spade on the diamond queen and nine, and will not require the trumps to break.

There is no suggestion that either dummy or declarer is going to possess a source of tricks or long suit outside the trumps. So it feels right to go passive rather than lead from an honor into the strong hand. While jack-third is not entirely safe, you rate not to cost your side a trick unless both dummy and your partner have a trump honor – and not always then.


♠ J 5 3
 Q 9 7 4
 K 10 6 2
♣ A 5
South West North East
    Pass 1 ♠
Pass 2 ♠ Pass 2 NT
Pass 3 ♠ All 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 ClimieDecember 5th, 2016 at 12:22 pm

Hi Bobby,

Perhaps dummy was too strong; with DKJ9x or QJ9x instead of KQ9x nobody would have crashed the D10 in hand by playing a high card from dummy. Curious how these blind spots arise.



bobby wolffDecember 5th, 2016 at 4:53 pm

Hi Iain,

Yes and your comment did give rise to one of my favorite words ever, serendipity, rarely used, only later in life learned by me, but so very descriptive and in bridge applicable more often than anyone can expect as a sometimes learning device, usually the way you thoughtfully described it above, accidentally, but sometimes, after the fact, on purpose.

Thank you, since to my view, your innovative comment is certainly in the running for the most thorough way of permanently remaining in the thought process while managing how to play our versatile game the very best way.

Even if the above is verily verified, it produces various and vastly different ways to accent the lesser used letter v in our vocabulary.

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