Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

Do not speak of your happiness to one less fortunate than yourself.


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


My wife Judy was previously married to the late Norman Kay, one of the strongest players never to win a world title. He declared this deal, from the semifinals of the 1968 Olympiad.

Norman was always a deliberate player, and when West led the spade jack, he took considerable time before committing himself. Eventually he won, tested the hearts and, when they broke 3-3, took the diamond finesse for an overtrick.

Was his line of play the best? It fails had hearts divided 4-2 with the diamond finesse wrong. As against that, playing on diamonds first might work if that suit divided evenly. But if the diamond ace is followed by a diamond to the queen, which is allowed to win, does declarer now risk a third diamond, or does he try the hearts?

Once you have identified the problem, maybe you can spot the best play for declarer. This would have been to try a low diamond towards the queen before releasing the ace. If the queen wins, you are still in control in the diamond suit and can even cope with a bad heart break by coming to hand in spades and leading a low heart to the 10. This loses only to the bare heart jack in East. And of course if the diamond queen loses to the king, there is still time to test both red suits.

So were the US lucky here? Not exactly; in the other room the Dutch declarer was in seven no-trump — which simply needed both hearts 3-3 and the diamond finesse to work.

This redouble is for take-out – your partner would sit back and let you enjoy yourself in one diamond doubled if he were happy to play there. You should expect him to have short diamonds and both majors, so you should be very happy to bid one spade — since in context you are quite suitable for play there.


♠ A Q 5
 10 5
 Q J 6 5 3
♣ K 10 5
South West North East
      1 ♣
1 Pass Pass Dbl.
Pass Pass Rdbl. 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