Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, September 18th, 2017

We are all strong enough to bear the misfortunes of others.

Duc de Rochefoucauld

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

*agreeing hearts


How much respect should you give your opponents? Sometimes a false-card is sufficiently clearcut that your suspicions should be set to high alert. At other times you have to decide if it is a play you would have considered yourself. If it isn’t, maybe you should pay off to a brilliancy. If they have found a play you wouldn’t have, maybe they deserve to defeat you!

This deal came up in the women’s qualifying event at the Rhodes Olympiad from the Great Britain and Sweden match. The Swedes bid the hand nicely. After a 22-23 2 NT and Stayman by North, the latter could agree hearts. Now Blackwood by South found all the key cards and the diamond king, and she could count 13 tricks if trumps behaved.

Against seven hearts Nicola Smith led the spade jack and declarer won in hand and laid down the heart king, on which Smith smoothly played the nine.

As you can see, this is the only card to give declarer a losing option, since without that play declarer would have had no choice but to follow up with the heart queen, since she could not pick up a four-card heart suit in East.

South was aware of the possibility that Smith had made the technical play. But she eventually played a trump to the ace, and down went the slam. The final score in this match was a big win for Britain. But since they had missed the grand slam in the other room, they would have lost the match had the grand slam come home.

Spades seems to be our partnership’s long suit so I would lead that. But please, please, do not lead the eight or 10 here. With dummy quite likely to have a doubleton and declarer four, do not throw away your side’s assets to clear up hypothetical ambiguity for partner. Lead low from three unless you know it to be wrong – and you cannot be sure of that here.


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