Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

The act of thinking logically cannot possibly be natural to the human mind. If it were, then mathematics would be everybody’s easiest course at school, and our species would not have taken several millennia to figure out the scientific method.

Neil de Grasse Tyson

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


The deals this week all come from the 1998 Nationals at Chicago. This deal was played in the semifinals of the Spingold knockout event.

Both Souths opened one diamond and rebid one no-trump, but were taken to two no-trump by their partners.

Put yourself in the West seat, and if you want to make it a fair challenge, cover up the East and South hands. Would you have spotted the point of the defense here?

Both Wests led a low heart rather than an honor; this seems like the right thing to do, since if declarer has four hearts, you cannot afford to waste a high card at the first trick. As it turned out, the low heart lead went to East’s queen and declarer’s king.

At trick two, South returned the heart eight. Both Wests split their honors and were allowed to hold the trick. Back came a club to dummy’s queen and discouragement from both Easts. Now declarer led a spade to the king and West’s ace.

Have you decided what you would do now? Both defenders promptly laid down the diamond king and played a second diamond, to let their partner win and continue with a third diamond through declarer’s 9-7 for one down. Nicely done, but it was clearly the indicated play, since declarer had rejected an invitation to game but had the spade and heart kings plus the club ace. So East surely had the diamond ace.

For the record, in the other match, one North passed the one no-trump rebid, and one drove to game.

It is tempting to drive this hand to game, since you are under such pressure to raise hearts with less, but the diamond queen is probably worthless, so all you really have is a ninecount. That being so, maybe a bid of three hearts is sufficient here. Switch the diamonds and spades, and I might bid four hearts.


♠ 9 7 4
 A 9 6 4
 Q 10
♣ K Q 5 3
South West North East
Pass 1 1 3

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