Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 20th, 2017

Between the possibility of being hanged in all innocence, and the certainty of a public and merited disgrace, no gentleman of spirit could long hesitate.

Robert Louis Stevenson

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



At the 2001 Bermuda Bowl in Paris the USA suffered maybe their most humiliating defeat against Italy ever. With 32 deals to go the match was almost tied, but then the roof fell in and they lost the last two sets of the match by over 100 IMPs, having been held virtually scoreless in both sets.

Here, for example, both tables reached four hearts, leaving the two Wests with about the same amount of information. Say you lead a top club – and infer from trick one that partner has one or two clubs; what would you do now?

For the USA, Jeff Meckstroth shifted to a diamond – which looks logical enough. Declarer won and ducked a club to Meckstroth, won the next trump in dummy, ruffed a club, crossed with a diamond ruff and ruffed a club, then drew the last trumps, and claimed 10 tricks. Had Meckstroth played back a spade at trick four, declarer could have cross-ruffed to 10 tricks.

By contrast, Alfredo Versace shifted to a spade at trick two, knocking out the late entry to dummy. This is the only defense to succeed here (a trump shift lets declarer overtake and play clubs from hand).

The American declarer could do nothing now. He chose to duck this trick — hoping to be allowed to play a crossruff or set up the clubs — but Lorenzo Lauria overtook the spade queen and gave his partner the ruff, for down one. Very nicely done after the club lead; of course most leads but a top club also succeed outright.

Your partner has made a take-out double of diamonds, suggesting a three-suiter with decent hearts, hence his first pass. I’d expect your partner to have three or four spades, but even facing a doubleton spade, playing spades is surely going to be your side’s best result rather than defending so I bid two spades now.


♠ K 10 6 5 4
 8 4
 Q 10 7 5
♣ 6 5
South West North East
  1 Pass 1 NT
Pass 2 Dbl. 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