Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, December 23rd, 2016

The Brain is wider than the Sky –
For put them side by side –
The one the other will contain
With ease –and You – beside.

Emily Dickinson

N North
Both ♠ —
 10 6 5
 K 10 8 7 4
♣ A K 10 6 4
West East
♠ K Q J 7 5 2
 8 7 3 2
♣ J 3
♠ 8 4 3
 K Q J 9
 A J 9
♣ 9 7 5
♠ A 10 9 6
 A 4
 Q 6 5 3
♣ Q 8 2
South West North East
    Pass 1
Dbl. 2 ♠* 3 Pass
3 NT Pass 4 Pass
5 All pass    

*Fit showing


All this week’s deals come from the late lamented Macallan Invitation teams tournament. 16 of the world’s strongest pairs gathered annually in London to take on one another – and may the best man or woman win!

Early on in the second day Nick Nickell ran into this challenge – and was up to the task. It might have been an easier task had the deal cropped up in a textbook, but real life often imitates art.

Against five diamonds, Nickell received the lead of the spade king. He carefully ruffed in dummy, and led a diamond to his queen; then he abandoned trump, and played off three rounds of clubs. Whether or not the third round of clubs was ruffed, he had saved a tempo, to ensure that he could discard his heart loser on the fourth round of clubs. Today, the lie of the clubs meant he could have continued to play on trump and survived, but his caution would have paid off if East had been 4-4-3-2 instead.

George Mittelman as West did not give his opponents the opportunity to make a textbook play. He was faced with a very different auction after his partner had passed in third seat. He overcalled two spades and heard his LHO jump to four spades, showing shortness and agreeing diamonds. So against five diamonds he led a heart.

Although it is possible to succeed double dummy after this start by following the same line as Nickell did, declarer simply played for trumps to break, and went one down when they did not.

It never does any harm to go over the basics once in a while. A jump to two no-trump is natural and invitational, and describes your values perfectly. In fact with none of your values in partner’s suits, I would not be surprised to discover that if partner passes, we may be too high already. But you can hardly do less. If you wanted to force to game, you would use the fourth suit or jump to three no-trump.


♠ 8 4 3
 K Q J 9
 A J 9
♣ 9 7 5
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♣ Pass
1 Pass 1 ♠ 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


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