Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 27th, 2017

Every man is the maker of his own fortune.

Richard Steele

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




It is always hard to retain concentration when it comes to the very final deal of a match where you are eager to rush out and score up. However Ulf Nilsson, playing with Drew Cannell, in the Spingold last summer, provided this deal, the last board in Eric Leong’s team’s upset win over the Meltzer squad. Nilsson worked out the percentages, but decided to follow his own path.

In the auction shown, Cannell’s four club call was a serious slam try (he had already limited his hand to 13 HCP, so he had a maximum with great controls). That let Nilsson drive to slam.

He won the club lead, ruffed a club, drew trump in one round, ruffed a club and led a second trump up. West discarded a spade, East a diamond. Now came a club ruff, and the diamond jack toward dummy, West playing a high spot card to suggest an odd number in that suit. When Nilsson ruffed a club, he found they were 4-4.

At this point, after cashing the diamond ace, the percentage play in spades in abstract is to lead to the queen and back to the 10. But Nilsson could sensibly reconstruct the West hand to be 5-1-3-4.

If East had only two spades, Nilsson could ignore the percentages and play the spade ace and another spade. He could put up the queen, not caring whether it would win or lose since East would be endplayed if he won.

At the other table, declarer followed the 75 percent line in spades and went down.

I would not double one spade, despite having decent values and the unbid major, since the risk partner will bid diamonds is too high. If the club opening were short I’d think more about the possibility – but even so, I believe pass is more discreet.


♠ Q 8 4
 K J 8 4
 K 6
♣ A 9 8 5
South West North East
  1 ♣ 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