Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Martin Luther King Jr

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


Today’s deal occurred in the European Championships from Hungary last year. In the match between England and Ireland (where there is always something more at stake than just victory points) both tables reached four spades when the first five bids were identical in both rooms. For England, David Bakhshi as West elected to try for the vulnerable game, and bid five hearts. When dummy appeared, he must have had high hopes. However after a spade lead and a diamond switch from South, ruffed by North, the 4-1 trump split took him one down, for 100 to Ireland.

In the other room the Irish West tried for a vulnerable penalty and doubled four spades. What would you have led with his hand? Hugh McGann made the right decision when he started with a trump, realizing the only way declarer could scramble any tricks was by a cross-ruff. Andrew Robson won in hand and slid the diamond nine on to the table.

When West fell from grace and played a small card, South let it run. East could win and return a trump, but declarer was now able to find a way home. He could ruff two diamonds in dummy, and the fall of the ace and queen meant he could establish the suit for 790 and a 12 IMP pick-up.

If West covers the first diamond, careful defense after that will allow East to regain the lead with the club ace and play a second trump, and now the defense prevails.

Despite your limited high cards, you are well worth a jump to four diamonds. This is an unusual application of the rule that in forcing auctions an unnecessary jump sets partner’s suit as trump and promises shortness in the bid suit. This is known as a splinter bid, and might be one of the most useful slam tools to be employed by the expert community.


♠ J 7 5 3
 Q 7 3 2
♣ Q 7 6 5 3
South West North East
    2 ♣ Pass
2 Pass 2 ♠ 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