Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

No great improvement in the lot of mankind is possible, until a great change takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of thought.

John Stuart Mill

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


Do the experts play better now than they did 80 years ago? I would certainly concede that bidding techniques have improved dramatically. Even so, given that experts still reach plenty of bad contracts, the majority of expert hands consist of avoiding mistakes rather than being brilliant.

Also, we can now discover that some of the most admired deals from the past were flawed, though that is not true of today’s deal, which was played by Charles Goren. As you can see, the auction featured the use of four-card majors – though even using five-card majors, some might open the South hand one heart.

Against three no-trump, the club king was led and ducked. Next came the club queen, and Goren ducked again. Now since he had no entries, West decided to shift to the diamond 10, won by dummy’s ace. Goren next led a heart to the ace, and tried a spade to the queen and king. Back came the diamond queen, and Goren ducked again, rectifying the count, by losing four tricks early, and improving his ability to count out the hand. After winning the next diamond with the king, Goren cashed the heart king, then the club ace and the spade ace-jack.

At this point West could be counted out to have begun with four spades, two diamonds, and five clubs, so could not hold more than the two hearts he had already followed to. So in the two-card ending Goren could lead to the heart 10 and claim the rest.

I would overcall one heart here, breaking my rule that one should never overcall on a four-card suit. While conscience makes cowards of us all, 100 honors tends to make us all brave, if not necessarily wise. Your best way to compete and get partner safely off to the right lead is to bid at once.


♠ 8 6 3
 A K Q 10
 5 4 3
♣ A 7 6
South West North East
  Pass Pass 1 ♣

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