Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, January 21st, 2017

Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.

Gloria Steinem

S North
Both ♠ J 8 5 3
 A K 8 5 4 3
♣ A 8
West East
♠ K Q 7 6 2
 Q 10 9 7
♣ 7 5 4
♠ A 10 9
 8 6
 Q 9 7
♣ Q J 9 6 2
♠ 4
 A K J 5 3 2
 J 6 2
♣ K 10 3
South West North East
1 1 ♠ 2 3 ♠
4 All pass    


On this 1997 deal from the Cap Gemini tournament North comes home in five diamonds easily enough, by ruffing spades in dummy. However, at one table Marc Bompis declared three no-trump by North, after East-West had bid spades.

If the defense lead a spade to the queen and a spade back, declarer may not get a spade trick — but he can set up the diamonds while keeping West off play. However Gabriel Chagas and Marcello Branco found an ingenious variation. Branco led the spade ace and followed up with the spade 10, and Chagas ducked this!

Now Bompis had his spade trick, but declarer could no longer give up a diamond trick without letting the defenders cash out. He tested diamonds, then tried the heart finesse and went two down.

Finally, Alain Levy played four hearts, by South, against which Tor Helness led the spade king. At trick two he correctly switched to a club, and Levy won the ace and ruffed a spade. Then he played a club to the king and ruffed a club, took the diamond ace and played a fourth spade, overruffing East’s eight with the jack, and cashed just one top heart.

With eight tricks in the bag he now led a diamond from hand. Helness was forced to ruff, but whatever he did next, declarer would make his remaining small trump now, or later.

Have you noticed that there WAS a defense to beat the contract? East could have overtaken the spade lead and played a trump, to kill the club ruff in dummy.

You have enough to bid game, not just invite it. A popular convention dealing with opposition intervention over your no-trump is called Lebensohl. There are many versions, but ‘Fast Denies’ ( would suggest you bid three no-trump yourself, a call suggesting the values for the no-trump game, without four spades, and without a heart stopper.


♠ A 10 9
 8 6
 Q 9 7
♣ Q J 9 6 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 NT 2

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