Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 25th, 2016

Into each life some rain must fall,
But too much is falling in mine.

Allan Roberts

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


This deal from the second final of the Nail Life Master Pairs is another example of the catch-ascatch-can of bridge, where the fate of a contract goes back and forth between declarer and defense.

South reported his own inadequacies as declarer with a plea for anonymity. I suppose we should thank him for his commitment to honest reporting!

As South narrated it, he observed that West was clearly unhappy to sell out to three clubs. West led the spade king to dummy’s ace. At trick two, declarer guessed well to lead the club three, covering East’s six with the seven. The 4-0 break had therefore been partly nullified, but there was a lot more work to do.

A heart went to the king and the ace, and East played back a diamond to West’s 10. Next came the diamond ace, East discarding a low spade, and a diamond ruffed with dummy’s club 10, while East discarded a heart.

At the table, declarer now played a trump, and East split his honors. Now declarer was left with two trump losers whatever he did.

Better, though, was to ruff a spade at once, then cash the top hearts and ruff a heart in dummy. In the three-card ending, South can lead any card from dummy and duck East’s club honor, to endplay him in trumps.

You might note that East had his chance to beat the contract legitimately. He must pitch two hearts on the diamonds, and now East can overruff dummy on the fourth heart.

There are three sensible actions here, if you believe as I do that passing would be too pessimistic. You can introduce your clubs, or rebid in no-trump, either inviting game or driving to three no-trump. I would conceal my clubs and invite game with two no-trump. If partner can’t bid game, we may be too high already.


♠ A J 10 6 4
 K 4
 8 6
♣ 10 8 5 3
South West North East
  Pass 1 NT Pass
2 Pass 2 ♠ 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