Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

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

And when a lady’s in the case
You know all other things give place.

John Gay

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


Goldilocks was well into spring-cleaning the bears’ cabin when she heard them return from their weekly foray to the bridge club. Today Papa Bear’s roaring could be heard as he came into the driveway. This was the board that upset him. His partner had declared three no-trump on a low spade lead.

“Can you believe the idiot put up the jack? He ducked the first and second spades

But West overtook, and cleared spades, with a sure diamond entry to shoot down the contract.”

Mama Bear felt she had done better. “I ducked the first spade in dummy, and when the 10 came up I played low from hand. I was hoping East had K-10 doubleton when the suit would be blocked. But as it was, West could overtake the queen when I ducked again, and now I was dead meat.”

Since Baby Bear was giving signs of being about to explode, Goldilocks decided to relieve the tension and ask him what had happened at his table.

“I played low from dummy and won with the ace,” he said. “This would block the suit whenever East has the doubleton king or queen of spades. I could then cross to the club king and play a diamond to the jack. Later I could use the heart ace entry for running the diamond eight. That would allow me to pick up any 4-1 diamond break.”

Since West might have overcalled with king-queen-fifth of spades and something in the red suits, this seemed best all round. And it worked.

You would have been close to jumping to two hearts had East not responded to his partner’s opening bid, but as it is, unless one of your opponents has dramatically misled you about his values, your side’s combined assets do not add up to the game zone. I would bid two hearts, planning to compete to three hearts over a call of three diamonds by one of my opponents.


♠ J 8 3
 A 8 6 5 4
 8 5 3
♣ K 3
South West North East
  1 Dbl. 1 ♠

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