Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, November 25th, 2017

Contrast is important in life. We understand what light is because we can compare it with what we know is dark. Sweet is made sweeter after we eat something bitter.

Tarryn Fisher

E North
None ♠ 9 5 4
 J 9 7 2
 A 10 9 6
♣ A J
West East
♠ K J 7 6
 A 10 8 5 4
♣ K 10 9
♠ Q 3
 Q 6
 7 5 4 3
♣ 8 6 4 3 2
♠ A 10 8 2
 K 3
 K Q J 2
♣ Q 7 5
South West North East
1 NT 2 ♣* 3 NT All pass



On this next deal from last year’s Blue Ribbon qualifier, the defenders were handed a chance by an opponent, and they took it. Perhaps West should have led his singleton diamond as his most passive option, making declarer’s task far harder, though not impossible. West was not that clever. Instead, he led the heart five, and declarer erred by playing low from dummy. East applied the rule of 11 to cover with the six, and now declarer was in trouble.

The winning line is to cross to dummy in diamonds to go after spades, but declarer took an early club finesse, and now East-West could set up a club for their fifth winner before declarer had nine tricks.

At another table, Allen Kahn, playing with Jeff Rothstein, did far better as declarer. A world champion West led the heart five against three no-trump, also after having shown the majors in the auction. Kahn inserted dummy’s heart seven and took South’s queen with the king.

Kahn played back a heart at trick two, and West took his ace. A club went to dummy’s jack. Kahn next played the diamond 10, a diamond to the king, and then ducked a spade, West winning the jack to clear clubs.

Kahn cashed his diamonds, ending in dummy and squeezing West, who needed to pitch either a heart or a club to concede just one trick in the ending. When he pitched a spade, Kahn took the heart jack to pitch his club queen and ran the spades for 11 tricks.

Assuming you play a forcing no-trump, so that a simple raise to two spades is constructive, that seems to be the value of your hand here. Treating the hand as a limit raise seems over the top to me, since your weak trumps are a danger signal. Move the club ace-jack into the spades, and your hand would have much more potential; you might treat it as a limit raise then.


♠ 9 5 4
 J 9 7 2
 A 10 9 6
♣ A J
South West North East
  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