Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend: Those with a rope around the neck, and the people who have the job of doing the cutting.

Tuco, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

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

*Spades and a minor


The Nail Life Master Open Pairs at last fall’s nationals saw two very different approaches with the South cards. One earned a near bottom, the other a near top. Here is the good, with the bad (or perhaps ugly) to follow.

Jason Feldman, South, playing with Tom Carmichael, was one of the few to achieve par on this deal when he saved in seven hearts. He was sure West had a heart loser from his final double, or he would have passed the final decision to his partner. West therefore had to hold the club ace.

The defenders played three rounds of spades. Feldman ruffed, ducked a club (felling the ace), ruffed the diamond return, drew one round of trumps, then crossruffed the rest for three down — a good save, even against his opponents’ plus-680! Bridge is an easy game, isn’t it?

If that was good, the following result from the same board was comic or tragic, depending on which way you look at it. The names of the guilty or unlucky parties are withheld.

The difference between the auction at our second table and the one shown was that North had doubled a heart bid rather than raising the suit. In this room, South passed out six spades, also having worked out that dummy would have a singleton heart. But North’s double of a heart call convinced South to come up with the master play of under-leading his heart ace-king to his partner’s putative queen. That was minus-1,460; as Maxwell Smart would have said, “Missed it by that much!”

All things considered, this is a pretty good hand. A simple call of three clubs doesn’t really do it justice — you might make the same bid with a Yarborough, after all. So I would jump to four clubs and hope partner can bid on to game with any sort of extra values or shape.


♠ 10 6 2
 Q 6
 Q J 9
♣ Q J 10 4 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 1 ♠
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