Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 21st, 2017

If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.

Romans, New Testament

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


On this hand from the 1995 World Junior Championships the two instructive themes are firstly to try to cherish your partner, and secondly that you may be able to protect him from the consequences of his error, if you do not allow emotion to get in the way.

When West led the club eight, (third highest from three or four cards) Andrew Moss as East won his queen and had to decide what to do next.

He saw that if the defense could play three rounds of spades it would promote a trump trick for the defense. So Moss switched to the spade queen; when he followed up with the spade king, he made it easy for his partner to work out to overtake and play a third spade.

Arguably, this is no more than routine good technique. But what if (as happened at some tables) your partner, having overdone the Sunday lunch, supinely plays low on the second spade?

As East you know declarer has all the top red-suit cards, and that he cannot ruff any spades in dummy. Since you can see at least two club tricks for him, declarer must have a 4-5-2-2 shape for the play so far to make any sense. Switch back to a club now, to break up a squeeze on your partner in the black suits.

If you play back a diamond for example, declarer takes his seven red suit winners and the last trump forces your partner to concede. By breaking up a squeeze on your partner, you should earn plenty of Brownie points.

In third seat this hand surely qualifies for an opening bid. There are some hands where you would bid the major, planning to pass the response, but here since neither a one club nor one heart opener stop the opponents from bidding spades, I would open my best suit and thus bid one club. I’d plan to rebid one no-trump if my partner responds one spade – this is not a hand to be ashamed of.


♠ 8 5
 K 10 9 3
 K 7 3
♣ A J 10 3
South West North East
    Pass 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