Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, May 5th, 2017

I don’t think necessity is the mother of invention — invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble.

Agatha Christie

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

*transfer to hearts


Occasionally your feeling of satisfaction as dummy comes down can give way to a rude awakening when you run into a foul break. You may now need to apply the little grey cells, as Hercule Poirot would say, to try to find a lie of the cards that will let you recover.

In today’s deal West led the spade queen against six hearts, reached after some insouciant bidding from North. Declarer won and confidently led his low heart to the jack.

When East showed out, South looked unhappily at his trump nine, realizing that had this card been in dummy, the play for 12 tricks would have been relatively simple. There again, if East had held the four trumps, the nine would have been in the right place.

Needing an endplay, South realized that West would have to hold at least three diamonds, so correctly played on that suit first. When West proved to have four cards in that suit, he ruffed his last diamond in dummy.

Now came the critical guess; West was known to have started with eight cards in the red suits, so declarer now had to decide in which black suit he would have three cards. Using the clue of the opening lead, South took the spade king and ruffed a spade.

Next came both top clubs and a third club. West did his best by ruffing in with the eight, but South underruffed in dummy, leaving West to lead from the K-10 of trumps at trick 12, while dummy held the guarded ace and South the queen; contract made!

Your partner’s call shows a maximum pass and heart fit. So how much is your hand worth? I wouldn’t drive to game, but I think I have enough to make a try. While a bid of three hearts is purely competitive, I am just about worth a call of three diamonds, a long-suit help try. That should let my partner decide whether to go to game or stop in three hearts (assuming the opponents let us).


♠ 7 6
 A J 6 5 4 2
 Q 7 3
♣ K J
South West North East
    Pass 1 ♣
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