Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, September 1st, 2017

But since we are all likely to go astray,
The reasonable thing is to learn from those who can teach.


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


At the world championships 20 years ago Nafiz Zorlu of Turkey put in a claim for the best played hand of the event, using an incisive BOLS tip to help him on his way. The tip was that a man who preempts and leads his suit rates to be short, if anywhere, in trumps.

Playing against the Turks’ traditional rivals, Greece, Zorlu reached four hearts after passing up the chance for a considerable penalty, since the auction had started with West opening three clubs in third seat, and East had incautiously raised his partner’s preempt over the take-out double. However though East appeared to have manipulated his opponents into exactly his favorite spot, the move backfired when West trustingly led a club to the first trick. Zorlu won it cheaply in hand and played a diamond to dummy, then led a low heart to the jack. He had inferred that West’s decision to lead his tenuous club suit suggested he had a singleton trump. Now declarer led a second round of diamonds and ducked a spade to West, who exited with a club (a diamond would have been no better).

Zorlu decided to take East’s diamond jack in good faith, so played him for his precise actual shape. He cashed the spade ace, then without playing any more trumps tried the spade jack and a spade ruff. That was his eighth trick, and when he exited with the diamond ace, East could ruff. However, he then had to lead a trump into dummy’s tenace and concede the contract.

However good your diamond fit might be, you should simply raise to three no-trump without looking for the minor suit game. With no singletons, you would be aiming at too small a target to assume that any game but no-trump would be right. If partner had really short hearts (when diamonds might play better) he would surely not have chosen to jump in no-trump but would have bid a second suit.


♠ 10 4
 J 4 3 2
 A 9 8 5 3
♣ Q 7
South West North East
  Pass 1 Pass
1 Dbl. 2 NT 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