Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Men are so simple and yield so readily to the desires of the moment that he who will trick will always find another who will suffer to be tricked.

Niccolo Machiavelli

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



The deceptive possibilities arising from letting go a nine or a 10 at the strategic moment seem virtually limitless. On the following hand the maneuver was a well-tried one, but it scored a goal nonetheless.

After a heart lead to the ace, East had to find a diamond shift to beat the contract legitimately. Instead he played the normal-looking spade, which declarer won to lead a club to the jack. To created possible confusion for declarer, East dropped the club nine, trying to look like a man with the doubleton 10-9 of trumps.

It worked – though it probably should not have done. When you play at the US national championships it is a fair assumption that your opponents did not leave the farm earlier that day…

Seduced by the sight of the nine, declarer crossed to hand with a top spade and advanced the club queen, to the king and ace. Now declarer cashed the heart queen and led a low diamond. East hopped up with the diamond king, cashed the club 10 and played a third spade. Declarer could ruff in dummy, but was left with a diamond and heart still to lose.

It might seem that even after the trump misguess, South could have recovered. But declarer could not have succeeded even if she had left the heart queen in dummy as an entry to the diamonds. The defense play spades at every opportunity, and the heart blockage leaves her with a diamond loser at the end.

This hand is worth a raise to three hearts, since your trump honors are working overtime, and your side-suit pattern offers partner the chance to develop tricks in many different ways. The knowledge that your partner has six hearts helps you evaluate your hand positively.


♠ 10 7
 Q J
 Q 10 5 4 3
♣ A J 8 3
South West North East
  Pass 1 Pass
1 NT 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact