Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 20th, 2017

Human kind Cannot bear very much reality.

T. S. Eliot

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


The Cavendish Pairs was held in Nevada for 15 years from the mid 1990’s onward, after the tournament moved from New York. It attracted players from all around the world, and boasted the largest cash prizes of any bridge tournament, with a prize pool well in excess of a million dollars.

This deal from 20 years ago shows Michel Abecassis taking advantage of a defensive slip to bring home a very tough game contract against Simon De Wijs and Ricco van Prooijen of the Netherlands.

After a club lead, Abecassis might have tried to run the lead round to his hand. The defenders would then have won and got in with the diamond ace to play a third club, and declarer would almost certainly have gone down now.

Instead, declarer rose with the club ace at trick one and drew three rounds of trumps with the aid of the finesse. Next he led a diamond to the king and ace, and back came a sneaky low heart.

Michel guessed well when he flew up with the king and exited with a low heart. East was forced to win the ace and cash the club king, then exit with the club jack. Abecassis ruffed this and ran all of his trumps, reducing to a position sometimes referred to as a pop-up or show-up squeeze.

On the last trump West had to keep his heart and thus came down to one diamond. But now Michel could play a diamond to the queen in the expectation that the jack would fall from East.

The action on this hand is somewhat dependent on vulnerability. I think there is a reasonable case for saying that in second seat at all but favorable vulnerability this is a maximum weak two bid; but that it would be just too strong in that instance. Some would say that it qualifies at the fourth vulnerability too. I can live with that, but suggest you and your partner agree which side of the line it falls.


♠ A J 9 7 5 2
 K 7
 8 7 2
♣ Q 5
South West North East

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