Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Curses are like young chickens, they always come home to roost.

Robert Southey

W North
None ♠ A K J 8
 K Q 7 6 4 2
♣ 8 3
West East
♠ 10 6 2
 Q 10 7 5 2
 A 10 3
♣ A 7
♠ 9 4
 K J 8 4
 J 5
♣ K Q J 9 4
♠ Q 7 5 3
 9 6 3
 9 8
♣ 10 6 5 2
South West North East
  1 2 4
Pass Pass Dbl. Pass
4 ♠ All pass    


In Shanghai at the Bermuda Bowl of 2007 I was very disappointed in the final position of the Irish team. They had come into the Round Robin as Silver Medalists in the European Championships, and were therefore among the favorites to advance to the Knock-Out phase. This did not happen, but they were nonetheless fighting right to the end – as witness this deal from their very final match.

John Carroll and Tommy Garvey play a light opening bid system whereby they frequently open 10-counts, as here. Carroll, West guessed well to lead the ace and another club. Garvey continued with a third round of clubs as Carroll pitched a heart.

Declarer ruffed and cashed two rounds of trumps then played the diamond king, which Carroll ducked, following with the 10. The contract can, of course, still be made easily by leading the diamond queen or playing a spade to the South hand and a diamond towards the queen. However, the sight of the diamond 10 was enough to convince South that his play didn’t matter – that is to say that West’s card had to be from the ace-10 or ace-jack-10. He continued with a small diamond, letting East win his diamond jack.

Now Garvey made no mistake, continuing with his remaining top club, on which West threw the diamond ace! Declarer had to ruff in the North hand, and at this point could not get off dummy to draw the last trump without promoting West’s spade 10 for the setting trick.

No one could blame you for passing with a two-count here. But in context you have enough (or almost enough) to compete to three clubs now. The doubleton diamond, four trumps and a queen that is likely to contribute something to the cause may not be much – but your partner has already shown a full reverse by competing facing a passing partner.


♠ Q 7 5 3
 9 6 3
 9 8
♣ 10 6 5 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♣ Dbl.
Pass 1 2 2

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