Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, May 20th, 2017

Two percent of the people think; three percent of the people think they think; and ninety-five percent of the people would rather die than think.

George Bernard Shaw

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


Today’s featured deal comes from the Women’s Trials of 20 years ago. It is an interesting exercise in percentages. Declarer got it right, but the hand is certainly a challenging one.

Against four hearts, Juanita Chambers led the club king, which gave declarer a little clue about the side suit distribution. What was also immediately apparent was that she needed something very favorable in clubs, or else the defense might take a ruff and beat her. This in turn suggested that she needed West to be short in clubs. Perhaps this also indicated that she needed the opening leader to have long hearts.

Declarer, Susie Miller, won the club lead in dummy, and cashed the ace, king and queen of diamonds, pitching a spade, then played a heart to the queen and ace. The return was the spade ace and then the diamond jack (an interesting play by Chambers to show that she had the long diamonds, and thus to make it look as if she was short in hearts) ruffed in hand by declarer.

Now came the moment of truth. Miller decided that the pre-emptive raise was likely to be based on holding a singleton somewhere, so she finessed in trumps. When the finesse succeeded, she could then draw the last trump and play a club to her hand for 10 tricks.

The fact that the defense had not played for a club ruff was also revealing, but I think declarer made a nice play; don’t you?.

The three heart call shows 5-6 in hearts and clubs, but does not promise slam interest. It is up to you to let your partner know that in context you are highly suitable for hearts (how could you be any better?). A bid of three spades should be a cuebid – for hearts I think, since you would bid four clubs to set that suit as trump. If you wanted to play spades, you would surely have rebid that suit over two hearts.


♠ A J 6 4 2
 A J 6
 J 10 8 6
♣ K
South West North East
1 ♠ Pass 2 ♣ Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
2 NT Pass 3 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