Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.

Warren Buffett

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


This deal comes from the 1997 Cap Gemini tournament. Clearly slam is nothing to write home about, since you need something favorable in both minors. Additionally, an initial spade lead causes you some real problems, since it is not clear what to throw on the top spades.

At one or two tables West simplified declarer’s task by leading a heart. However, on the spade lead found by Mark Bompis against Sun Ming of the Chinese ladies, declarer could and did succeed by a fine line.

It is very tempting to try to ruff two diamonds in dummy; if you do this, East can win the club ace and give his partner a ruff. Instead Sun won the spade ace, played a trump to hand, then continued by cashing the diamond ace and ruffing a diamond.

Now she ran the spades, throwing a heart and diamond away. When East ruffed the fourth spade it was with the club ace, allowing South to discard her last diamond.

In other words, declarer got rid of her three losing diamonds and her losing heart by ruffing one diamond and throwing the other three on the spades.

But even had East had a small trump left with which to ruff the fourth spade, declarer would have been able to overruff, and then would have been in good shape to ruff another diamond in dummy. So long as diamonds are 4-3, declarer can return to hand now and play another trump, to concede just one club trick.

Do not be fooled into thinking your partner has guaranteed real diamond support. This auction is entirely consistent with a doubleton diamond in support, from a hand that wants to leave you space to say why you forced to game. Rebid three notrump now and let partner move on only with real support or extras.


♠ 2
 A 5
 A K 8 6 2
♣ K Q J 6 2
South West North East
1 Pass 1 ♠ Pass
3 ♣ Pass 3 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact