Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Exceptions are the exceptions, and finds are like ants; whenever you see one, you may be sure there are twenty.

Anne Fortier

l North
♠ A 7 6 5 4
 J 9 6 5
♣ 10 9 8
West East
♠ Q 3
 4 3 2
 7 6 5
♣ K Q J 7 2
♠ 8
 A K Q 10 8
 A Q 8 4 2
♣ 4
♠ K J 10 9 2

 K J 10 3
♣ A 6 5 3
South West North East
  Pass Pass 1
1 ♠ 2 4 ♠ 5
5 ♠ All pass    


Even the best rules have exceptions. Ducking an ace when dummy has a singleton may persuade declarer to misguess the position. But how often can declarer misguess when you as defender hold both the ace and queen? Read on.

When France met Monaco in the European Championship, Geir Helgemo and Tor Helness for Monaco faced Michel and Thomas Bessis. Both tables played five spades here on the lead of the club king. South correctly inferred that clubs were breaking 5-1, so took the first trick.

In one room, when declarer drew trumps ending in dummy and called for dummy’s diamond, East rose with the ace — and now the contract was home without a struggle. Declarer could pitch one loser on the diamond king, then run the diamond jack, pitching from dummy again. All he lost was two diamonds. He took two diamonds, one club and eight trumps.

For Monaco, Helgemo also led the club king, won by the ace. Declarer drew trumps, ending in dummy, then played the diamond nine. When East, Helness, played low smoothly, Bessis called for the king, and from here on in had to go one down. His play was based on the fact that he was sure from the bidding that East had the ace. But had he played low from his hand, his nine would have held. After ruffing a heart to hand, he could have led out high diamonds from hand and discarded club losers from dummy.

East cannot prevent declarer from eventually coming to two diamond tricks, one club, and eight trumps.

This answer is partly about style and partly about judgment. I’d like to rebid two spades here, even if it suggests six — which in my style, it does not. A bid of three of a minor should show either five cards or extras. Even worse, it might lose us our fit in the fourth suit.


♠ K J 10 9 2
 K J 10 3
♣ A 6 5 3
South West North East
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