Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff? Be off, or I’ll kick you downstairs!

Lewis Carroll

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



In today’s deal, which comes from the semifinal of a regional knockout, Gavin Wolpert brought home a delicate game. He played it very nicely, but the deal just goes to prove that, as Bob Hamman said: The best play lousy and the rest play worse. See if you can spot how the defenders missed their chances.

The contract of four hearts looks fine — except on a diamond lead — but that is what West led. Wolpert ducked the diamond jack, then won the diamond continuation as West followed with his small diamond. Wolpert now led a low club to dummy’s queen, which won the trick. Yes, West could have flown up with the ace, but that would have looked silly if South had held king-third of clubs.

When the spade finesse held, Wolpert crossed his fingers and cashed the heart ace-king followed by the spade ace, before exiting with a third diamond.

Much to his surprise and pleasure, his LHO was forced to win the trick and had no spade or heart to lead. He could cash his club ace, but then had to lead a club and concede a ruff-and-discard. Wolpert could ruff in hand, discarding the spade from dummy. He could next ruff a spade to dummy, to draw the last trump and claim his contract.

So have you spotted the significant error on defense? West should have unblocked his diamond king at trick two, so that he could let East win the third diamond and avoid the endplay.

This hand seems to be at the very bottom of the threshold for a jump to three hearts. The spade fragment may be useful facing shortness, and it is easy to imagine making game facing an opening bid with a singleton spade. If you play that your take-out doubles normally deliver shape-suitable openers, as you should, then your hand is just worth this action.


♠ 10 7 3
 A Q 6 5 4
 9 6 2
♣ Q 10
South West North East
  1 ♠ 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