Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

Complex, statistically improbable things are by their nature more difficult to explain than simple, statistically probable things.

Richard Dawkins

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


In many ways, the hardest lesson to learn at bridge is how difficult a game it is. There are countless people who come to the game later in life, having been successful at everything else they ever attempted, but they never come to grips with the idea that hard work is required on almost every single deal they will ever play, in order not to end up with egg all over their face.

Here, you play six no-trump on a passive club lead. Your thoughts doubtless turn to whether you can sneak the overtrick by scoring a spade trick without losing one. You win the club lead in hand and play a spade to the queen, and now you’ll have 13 tricks if hearts break. But why should they?

Cash all the top clubs, pitching a spade from dummy, to determine that West has four. Now you know 10 cards in his hand, but to make doubly sure, you take the king and queen of diamonds and see West follow twice. Now the hand is an open book: Cross to the heart ace, run the heart 10, unblock hearts and come back to the diamond ace to take the rest of the hearts.

True, you won’t always be punished harshly if you don’t make an attempt to count every hand, but you must agree that you deserve to go down anytime you have an opportunity to count the cards and fail to do so!

Your partner has suggested a limit raise in clubs based on shape, not high cards. With no tricks and no aces, pass and hope you can make it. You may have a maximum in high cards, but in all other respects this hand is deficient in prospects for game.


♠ K 8 5
 K 7 5
 Q 10 4
♣ K Q J 4
South West North East
1 ♣ 1 2 Pass
2 NT Pass 3 ♣ 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