Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 18th, 2017

The first precept was never to accept a thing as true until I knew it as such without a single doubt.

Rene Descartes

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


When China played Brazil on view-graph in the early stages of the 1995 Bermuda Bowl, a huge swing hinged on the defense to an ambitious slam contract. China had played game in the other room, but Mello, sitting South for Brazil, took a shot at slam here.

West, had a choice of three side suits to lead; from the perspective of good journalism, he was faced with a “Goldilocks” problem. The club jack would have been too tough for declarer, the heart seven would have made life too easy, and his actual choice of the diamond six was “just right”.

Mello ruffed the diamond ace, drew trump pitching a diamond from dummy, and finessed the heart jack. When East won the heart queen he returned a passive diamond, allowing declarer to ruff, cash the heart ace and run all the trumps. In the four-card ending dummy kept two hearts, one diamond and a club. West came down to a diamond and three clubs, but had to discard a club (to keep his diamond king) when declarer played a heart to dummy.

Since East had already been forced down to two clubs to keep the hearts guarded, declarer could finesse the club queen, cash the ace and take trick 13 with the club seven.

The defense could have broken up the position by attacking the pivot suit, here clubs. If East had switched to a club, then dummy would have had to let go of its club in the ending, and the communications would have been destroyed for the double squeeze.

Your partner has shown extra values with short clubs, typically a 4-3-5-1 hand. Your hand is now spectacularly good – too good for a jump to four diamonds. My choice would be to bid five diamonds. If a call of four clubs means (as it probably should) a perfect fitting hand with no wasted values in clubs, sometimes called a Bluhmer, try that instead.


♠ Q 6
 K J 6 3
 Q 10 9 5
♣ 9 6 5
South West North East
  Pass 1 Pass
1 Pass 1 ♠ 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