Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

The universe is built on a plan the profound symmetry of which is somehow present in the inner structure of our intellect.

Paul Valery

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


Can you see the curious symmetry in the play and defense of today’s deal?

It would have been a mistake for South to open one club instead of one no-trump here. You can occasionally open a suit if you downgrade your 15 HCP, or upgrade your 17 HCP into a balanced 18-19. But these are very much the exceptions rather than the rule.

West leads a top spade against three no-trump, and when declarer puts up the king, East wins and returns a low spade. It is not clear who has the long spades, so South ducks the spade and wins the third, pitching a diamond from dummy. Now come four rounds of hearts, East discarding two diamonds.

The crux of the deal comes when South innocently leads the club nine from dummy. If East plays low, declarer runs the nine to West’s jack. The defenders have a spade to cash, but with the club king onside, South has the rest. Notice that if East covers the club nine with the king, West will be left with two club stoppers not one.

The parallel comes in South’s correctly putting up one of the black kings at trick one, and East doing the same at trick eight. The bottom line is that when you have a doubleton honor it is generally correct to cover a significant card led by dummy, should there be no realistic chance that you can score a trick with that card if you retain it. The trick, of course, is to determine what card is significant.

Even though your spade king may not be pulling its full weight, you can hardly do less than bid four hearts, if you trust your partner’s overcalls. The argument that you may be pushing the opponents into game won’t wash. If they were going to bid game under their own steam they will do so, and who is to say that they will make it just because they bid it?


♠ K 4
 Q 10 4 3
 A 10 6 4 3
♣ 9 7
South West North East
Pass 1 ♠ 2 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