Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, October 21st, 2017

You never appreciate your anonymity until you don’t have it anymore.

Jason Priestley

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


Our last deal from the 2001 world championships contrasts two declarers in the same contract. First let’s see the unsuccessful declarer.

For Indonesia, Robert Tobing drove to slam on finding a limit raise opposite with one key card. After a club lead he ruffed his heart losers in dummy and relied on the diamond honors being onside, once the 3-1 trump split did not allow him an endplay. Down one.

However, in the match between Italy and USA-I, the commentators saw both Souths had made their slam, and hypothesized that there must have been a misdeal. How could the slam make?

Well, both Bob Hamman and Alfredo Versace reached slam after West had bid clubs. Both won the opening club lead to advance a diamond at trick two, reasoning West would surely split his honors if he held both the king and queen. When West followed low unconcernedly, (yes, it was necessary to play the king) both declarers changed tack and set out to find an endplay. They took the diamond ace, then cashed the hearts and ruffed a heart, ruffed a club, ruffed a heart, and ruffed a club. Then they drew precisely one trump, and exited with a diamond.

In the three-card ending West was on lead, with only clubs left to lead. On the forced ruff and discard, dummy could take the ruff and declarer the discard. A spectacular flat board, while both West players and the vugraph commentators reached quickly (but a little too late) for the veil of anonymity.

Partner has a huge hand with something like eight to nine playing tricks in clubs. You could settle for game, but I think you are worth a splinter raise to four hearts. Let partner ask for aces or keycards if appropriate. He will be better placed to take control than you.


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