Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 24th, 2017

The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.

John Powell

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


As the reporter from the first day of this Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs said, when you qualify almost in last place for the next day, every little bit helps.

Glenn Milgrim came through in the clutch for his partnership. He was playing against Zia Mahmood and Dennis Bilde, one of the strongest pairs in the event.

Mahmood found the best defense against four spades by leading three top hearts, on which Bilde pitched his diamond 10 as declarer ruffed in dummy.

Declarer led the spade queen, which held (though East would have done better to cover). Milgrim read the position perfectly and changed tack at this point. He finessed in clubs, ruffed a club, then played three more rounds of spades to throw Bilde in for the forced club play. The diamonds in dummy took care of the rest. That was plus-620 and 59 out of 64 match points.

Ever the perfectionist, Milgrim was subsequently kicking himself for giving East the chance to defeat the game. The line that gives the defenders no chance is to take the club finesse at trick four, followed by ruffing a club, then playing the spade queen from dummy. Now the defense has no counter. East covers, and declarer plays four rounds of trumps to pitch low diamonds from dummy, throwing East in on the last one.

East can only lead a club now, to let declarer win the ace, on which he pitches dummy’s last losing diamond. The three top diamonds take the last three tricks.

Do not get carried away here. Yes you have shape and four trumps — a nice combination, but shape only goes so far. While you would happily compete to three spades, you should not jump to three spades here. Settle for a simple raise to two; you would need maybe the heart king in addition to do more. Incidentally, with the heart ace instead of the four, a jump to four diamonds would be available.


♠ Q 8 6 5
 8 4
 A K Q 5 3 2
♣ 2
South West North East
1 Pass 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