Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 17th, 2017

Every man I meet wants to protect me. I can’t figure out what from.

Mae West

W North
Both ♠ 7 6
 K J 2
 9 6 5 2
♣ A K 7 4
West East
♠ K 3
 10 8 7 6 3
 K 8 4
♣ 8 5 3
♠ 5 4 2
 A Q 9 5 4
 A 7 3
♣ 10 9
♠ A Q J 10 9 8
 Q J 10
♣ Q J 6 2
South West North East
  Pass Pass 1
1 ♠ 3 Pass Pass
3 ♠ Pass 4 ♠ All pass


South has a fine overcall of one spade at any vulnerability. He cannot afford to double first and bid spades later, for that would show a hand with greater highcard strength. If North cannot take independent action, game is very unlikely.

North is pre-empted out of the auction by West’s raise, but when South comes again, North has enough to bid game. While he could opt for no-trump, he can see that the defenders will be able to establish hearts easily, so spades looks safer.

The first few tricks are routine. South plays low from dummy (hoping to force an honor), but East defends strongly by putting in the nine. South ruffs the first heart, gets to dummy with a club and tries the trump finesse.

The finesse loses, and South is forced to ruff another heart. Now South must be careful not to run out of trumps. He must go after the diamonds, putting the trumps on hold. If he does so, by the time South has knocked out both top diamonds, dummy will be out of hearts. So when the defenders lead a fourth heart, dummy will ruff and South can save a trump. As it happens, the defenders will lead a club instead, and South can win and draw trumps.

If South had drawn trumps before attacking the diamonds, he would have left himself with only one trump. He would knock out one top diamond, and West would win. Then a heart return would allow East to defeat the contract by running the hearts when in with the diamond ace.

The practical call is to bid one no-trump now. With four diamonds in your hand, what’s a stopper between friends? This call represents your values accurately since it shows 8-12 or so, an approximately balanced hand with not much in partner’s suit, and mildly constructive values.


♠ 7 6
 K J 2
 9 6 5 2
♣ A K 7 4
South West North East
  1 1 ♠ 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