Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, August 24th, 2017

There is nothing in human affairs that is a true subject for ridicule. Beneath comedy lies the ferment of tragedy; the farcical is but a cloak for coming catastrophe.

Gabriel Chevalier

E North
Both ♠ J 9
 K 9 4 3
 Q 7 3
♣ Q 7 4 3
West East
♠ A 10 8
 10 9 8 5
♣ A 8 6 5 2
♠ K Q 7 6 4 2
 A J 6 5
♣ K J 10
♠ 5 3
 Q 10 8 7
 A K J 6 4 2
♣ 9
South West North East
      1 ♠
2 2 ♠ Dbl. 4 ♠
5 Dbl. All pass  


In this deal from the qualifying rounds of the world junior championships in Italy last summer, only one East-West pair hit the jackpot of six spades. Adam and Zach Grossack managed that feat, against which South led a trump. Best is to win the ace and lead a club to the 10, which leads to a painless 12 tricks unless South has a singleton club queen.

In the match between Poland and Norway, the Polish pair missed slam. However, the other room saw considerably more action, on the auction shown. Yes, maybe South could have maneuvered to the best red-suit fit via a call of four no-trump (planning to correct five clubs to five diamonds to show the red suits). Still, five hearts doubled did not look as if it was going to be enormously expensive.

At the table, West led ace and another spade. Now maybe Tor Eivind East should have shifted to clubs. As it was, he led a third spade, and declarer seized his chance to pitch a club from hand and ruff in dummy. There followed a heart to the queen, but what next?

The cautious line would be to start diamonds – if East ruffs in, it will be with trump tricks, won’t it? Maksymilian Chodacki threw caution to the winds and played a second trump himself.

Disaster! Grude drew two rounds of trumps and ran spades, letting declarer score his low heart, but no more tricks. That was down eight in a freely bid contract – a cool 2000 and 17 IMPs to Norway.

This hand is not worth forcing to game with a two diamond response (though if you could bid two diamonds then three diamonds, non-forcing, you should do that. Equally, if a jump to three diamonds was invitational you might consider that. But failing that, a call of one no-trump should keep your options sensibly open –especially if you play it as forcing.


♠ 5 3
 Q 10 8 7
 A K J 6 4 2
♣ 9
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♠ 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