Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself for an oracle, is inborn in us.

Paul Valery

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


When South opens one club North should introduce his heart suit, weak as it is, rather than support clubs. If South has four hearts this may be the only way to find the fit.

Without a four-card fit for hearts, South continues with his original plan to rebid in notrump. North knows to raise notrump rather than chase the rainbow of a minor-suit game.

In three no-trump on a top spade lead South can see that he has nine tricks if the club finesse succeeds. What if it fails? South should conclude that he will need a diamond trick if that is the case.

If South errs by leading clubs at trick two East will win and will knock out the spade ace. Then West will gain the lead with the diamond ace to run the rest of the spades. So South must lead diamonds first to knock out the sure entry in the hand of the dangerous opponent. The diamond ace is a sure entry for West, but if that player has the club king, it will do him no good.

When South plays on diamonds, West can take the first diamond and lead another spade, and he will thus set up his suit. But when South ducks one spade he can ensure that West will never regain the lead to cash his tricks. East will later get in with the club king, but will then be out of spades.

If West ducks the first diamond, South of course changes tack and develops the clubs for his nine winners.

You may not have many assets, but what you have is perfectly located. Raise to three diamonds, relatively confident that you will be offering partner three-plus working cards (rather more than partner might expect on this auction). Your weak hearts are actually an asset on an auction where partner rates to be relatively short in that suit.


♠ 4 2
 5 4 3 2
 Q J
♣ A J 9 7 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 Pass
1 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