Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

When I consider life, ‘tis all a cheat;
Yet, fooled with hope, men favor the deceit.

John Dryden

E North
None ♠ Q 3
 K Q 9 4 3
 7 5 2
♣ Q 7 4
West East
♠ 9 6 4 2
 8 7 5
♣ K J 10 8 5
♠ A K 10 8 7 5
 J 10 2
 6 4
♣ 9 3
♠ J
 A 6
 A Q J 10 9 8 3
♣ A 6 2
South West North East
      2 ♠
3 ♠ * 4 ♠ Dbl. Pass
6 All pass    

*stopper asking


Today’s deal cropped up during the first session of the girls’ semifinals at the junior championships in Salsomaggiore last year.

Before I tell you what happened at our featured table, consider the play in five diamonds here. At every table where diamonds were trumps, the defenders led spades. East either tried to cash her top spades, or won the spade king to shift to a club.

After this start, it was easy for declarer to infer that, given East’s opening bid, West must hold the diamond king. This allowed declarer to drop the diamond king offside. In the semifinal between Australia and Indonesia, Renee Cooper followed this line in five diamonds, and could set up hearts to pitch the club loser, making 12 tricks.

At her counterpart’s table Kirstyn Fuller from Australia was East, but here the stakes were higher, since she was defending six diamonds. She deceptively won the opening lead with the spade ace and shifted to her club nine.

Now declarer assumed West had the spade king, so the diamond finesse rated to be working. She took the club ace, crossed to a heart, and finessed in trumps. When West won with her king, she could cash her club winner and give her partner a club ruff. That meant three down – but had Fuller not made the right play to trick one, the slam would surely have come home; so the false card generated a swing of 22 IMPs.

Australia went on to reach the final, where they lost to a strong Dutch team.

While you have limited values, you should nonetheless raise to three clubs, as a two-way shot. In one way you are competing to try for a possible game, in another you are trying to make sure the opponents do not have a cheap way into the auction at the two level.


♠ Q 3
 K Q 9 4 3
 7 5 2
♣ Q 7 4
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♣ Pass
1 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