Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, May 12th, 2017

Golf is a good walk spoiled.

Mark Twain

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


Arnold Palmer, who died last year, was a keen bridge player. His go-for-broke style was applied not only on the golf-course, but also in business, and equally, he also tended to go all out at the bridge table.

Here, when Palmer’s partner jumped to four hearts, he used Blackwood, then went all the way to seven no-trump. In that contract either a diamond or heart finesse would be necessary, but the heart finesse on its own would not suffice. However, after the seven no-trump call, West had hitched, which helped Palmer decide to play him for the missing high-cards. So rather than take the diamond finesse – in abstract the best chance — Palmer played to squeeze West.

After a club lead, he took the clubs and the diamond ace then ran the spades. On the last spade, West was toast. If he discarded a heart, Palmer would pitch the diamond from dummy and run the hearts with the aid of the finesse. If West discarded the diamond king, Palmer could let go a heart from dummy and finesse in hearts.

One of my readers, Peter Peng, a golfer and bridge player who has returned to the game after a 20-year layoff, had Palmer autograph the bridge book by my old boss Ira Corn, in which this play was first described. Corn, you will recall was responsible for assembling the Aces bridge team. At the end of 2016 the St. Petersburg Bridge Club auctioned the book, with the proceeds going to a children’s home.

There is a lot to be said for rebidding your hearts, since the opponents are quite likely to raise spades at their next turn. Therefore, this might be your last chance to do so comfortably. Unless your partner doubles the opponents in game I would not intend to defend here, but will raise clubs if given the chance, at my next turn.


♠ Q
 A Q J 9 8 3
 Q J 8
♣ Q 8 2
South West North East
1 Pass 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