Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, April 1st, 2017

There is no sauce in the world like hunger.


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


A match between Hungary and Belgium, during the European Junior Championships of 2004, threw up the possibility of an interesting line of defense. Even with the sight of all four hands the killing maneuver is not easy to find. So I think Tamas Szalka was due congratulations for finding the play at the table.

Against two spades, West made his natural lead of the heart king. The Belgian South took dummy’s ace, correctly focusing on drawing trump and not allowing the defenders to shift to diamonds, which would have facilitated their chances of finding the ruff.

At trick two, declarer took the spade finesse. In with the trump king, Szalka found the only play to defeat the contract – the diamond six. South played dummy’s 10, and East, Gabor Winkler, won with his king.

The spotlight now shifted to East, and he made no mistake, resisting the urge to cash his heart winner. Instead, he immediately returned a diamond. Declarer tried the nine, but West was able to cover with the jack, neatly locking declarer on the table. Now South was unable to exit from dummy without letting East in to give his partner the diamond ruff, to set the hand.

Had East cashed his side’s heart winner before returning a diamond, declarer could have ruffed a heart back to hand and drawn trump. And had West shifted to the diamond jack at trick three, declarer’s diamond nine would have become a re-entry to his hand.

This is a take-out double, and you have no reason to play for penalties just because of your singleton spade. I would bid two hearts, and await developments from here on in. If your partner doesn’t have four hearts, he will surely have enough extras to be able to describe his hand properly.


♠ 3
 A 8 7 6
 A Q 10 5 2
♣ Q 8 5
South West North East
1 Pass 1 ♠ 2 ♣
Pass Pass Dbl. 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