Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, September 8th, 2017

I’m a dealer in magic and spells,
In blessings and curses
And ever-filled purses,
In prophecies, witches, and knells.

W. S. Gilbert

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


At the Dyspeptics Club there have been dark hints dropped that South might be practicing the dark arts. West has gone so far as to suggest exorcizing the stock of unused playing cards, since South appears to be able to direct every available ace and king into his own hand. Were it not for the fact that he does so little with them, his opponents would be even less happy with him.

As it is, though, he manages to floor more contracts than anyone else – helped no doubt by the fact that he seems to declare as many as the other players put together.

Today’s deal was no exception. Having managed to restrain himself from bidding the grand slam, he expansively claimed his honors at trick one, winning the ace and king of hearts, then cashing the club ace and king, and coming up short when East discarded. He tried ruffing a spade and leading a diamond towards his hand, but when East did not fall for the bait, he had to go down one. After North shook his head, South realized he might have missed the point of the deal. Can you see his mistake?

Win the heart eight at trick one, ruff a diamond, cross to the heart queen and ruff another diamond, then cash the club ace and king. Claim if they break, if not, ruff out the spades and lead the diamond king. When East covers, you pitch one of your club losers, and wait for the ruff/sluff, that lets you pitch your other club loser from hand.

You can go low and pass, or you can respond either one no-trump, or two clubs. I prefer the last of these options for two reasons. The first is that a call of one no-trump potentially wrong-sides that strain, and is an overstatement of your values. Second, the opponents rate to have a major-suit fit and raising clubs makes it harder for them to find.


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

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