Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, February 10th, 2017

Neutrinos, they are very small. They have no charge and have no mass And do not interact at all. The earth is just a silly ball to them, through which they simply pass, Like dustmaids down a drafty hall.

John Updike

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


I’ll let you be the judge of whether someone made a very good or bad play to generate a slam swing here, or whether you might have made the mistake that was committed at the table. In today’s deal at both tables six no-trump was reached in short order and the club five led .

In both rooms declarer led a spade to the king, and at one table East took his ace. As declarer, in which order would you cash your winners now?

South did well to cash hearts early, knowing no competent defender would unguard that suit, but that the rest of his distribution might be less clear. On the third heart East discarded a club, and now the rest of the top clubs forced East to discard, revealing he had begun with only three clubs. The late Jean Besse referred to the small clubs as neutrinos and emphasized that defenders had to be careful to avoid such revealing plays.

After taking the rest of the top spades, South discovered West’s original shape had to be precisely 3=4=2=4. So declarer took the diamond ace and king and finessed the diamond 10. Nicely done.

In the other room both the first and second spades were ducked; now declarer could not afford to play a third spade. He cashed all the clubs and hearts, finding some information but not enough to be sure on the spade count. So eventually he went with the percentages and played diamonds from the top; one down.

Playing two over one, although you have three spades, you want to rebid two no-trump here. This is forcing and allows you (if partner gives you space to do so) to show delayed spade support. But if your partner simply raises to three no-trump you intend to pass. Doesn’t your hand look more suited to play at no-trump?


♠ 6 5 4
 Q 8 2
 Q 10 3 2
♣ A K J
South West North East
  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