Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, February 3rd, 2017

All human errors are impatience, a premature breaking off of methodical procedure, an apparent fencing in of what is apparently at issue.

Franz Kafka

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


In today’s deal from a team game one declarer followed a traditional route to success, and played by rote, while the other took time to foresee developments and found the route to success.

At both tables North-South bid aggressively to the heart game and both Wests led the spade nine to the king. One declarer played a diamond at once, to set up his discard. West rose with the ace, and played a second spade, and now declarer could no longer succeed. He rose with the ace to play a trump, but West won his ace and thoughtfully underled his club ace, to allow East to cash his spade winner. Had declarer tried to take his discard early, East would have been able to ruff away the diamond winner.

In the other room South intelligently cut the defenders’ communications, by leading a club to trick two. West won the club queen and played a second spade. South rose with dummy’s spade ace, and ruffed a club. Then he led a diamond towards dummy’s honors, and West correctly ducked, realizing declarer would have played diamonds earlier had he started with a singleton diamond. South won the diamond king and ruffed a club, then led a low heart towards the 10.

West had to win the heart ace and exit with a heart. But South won this on the table with the 10, ruffed the last club, and led a diamond towards the queen. West could take his ace but had only diamonds left, so declarer had the rest.

You don’t have to agree with me, but I think when asked for a heart stopper you must show one here by bidding no-trump now. That is the easy part; the real issue is that after this fourth-suit enquiry, which sets up a game force, you should jump to three no-trump with a strong no-trump equivalent, which is what you have.


♠ 9 3
 A 6
 A J 8 3 2
♣ A Q 9 5
South West North East
1 Pass 1 ♠ 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact