Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

The wise man bridges the gap by laying out the path by means of which he can get from where he is to where he wants to go.

J. P. Morgan

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


Our last board this week from the 1996 world championships at Rhodes shows two different approaches and results in the delicate game contract of four spades.

It was one of the more difficult defensive challenges of the event, and because duplicated deals were in use, the commentators had the opportunity to see how well everybody could do. The problem was rarely solved correctly — that is, if declarer chose the line of maximum pressure. We shall look at four spades, played first by North, then by South.

When Miguel Reygadas and Georg Rosenkranz of Mexico defended game from the North seat (after a transfer auction) Rosenkranz as East found the heart lead. Reygadas contributed the king and it was now relatively easy for Rosenkranz to duck when declarer led a low trump from hand. Reygadas won his trump ace, unblocked hearts by cashing his queen, then played a second spade, allowing Rosenkranz to give him the ruff for one down.

At another table Dennis Koch of Denmark had also overreached to get to game, from the South seat. On the lead of the heart king he won immediately, then led the spade 10 from dummy, to tempt the cover. When East obliged, the communication for the heart ruff had gone.

(You can imagine that if East had two hearts and the doubleton spade king the winning play would be to lead the low spade from dummy at trick two, to discourage that player from putting up his honor.)

A simple option would be to drive to four hearts, but that seems a real overbid to me, since you may be short on both trumps and high cards. I’m not sure I like a call of two no-trump either, with this spade weakness. So what does that leave? Maybe a game-try of three diamonds. I’ll accept partner’s sign off, or if he chooses to bid three no-trump or four hearts.


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