Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, January 27th, 2018

To consult the statistician after an experiment is finished is often merely to ask him to conduct a post mortem examination. He can perhaps say what the experiment died of.

Ronald Fisher

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


In the Grand National Open Teams at the New South Wales Bridge Association, two strong Australian teams met, and both declarers passed the test they were set.

Against four spades, West led the heart king, then the queen, which East overtook. He returned a club, won in hand by declarer, Andrew Peake. Then came the spade two. West inserted the 10, and East showed out when the ace was played from dummy. Peake now played a diamond to the king, then the 10, covered with the jack and ace, then a further diamond was ruffed in hand. A club to the queen followed, then a second diamond was ruffed.

South cashed the club king, on which dummy’s last diamond departed. He continued with his low club, and with nothing but trumps left, West could make just one further trick.

Incidentally, had East followed to the third diamond, declarer would have played four rounds of clubs, ruffing in dummy, then ruffed a diamond with an intermediate trump to achieve the same ending.

The same line was taken by Paul Gosney at the second table, which was even more impressive, since he wasn’t doubled.

A better defense would have been for East to lead a third heart at trick three. When declarer ruffs in hand and West pitches a club, declarer will have to take care not to play trump at all. Instead, he strips off two clubs and four diamonds, and in the four-card ending leads a club from hand, under-ruffing West’s trump honor and endplaying him to concede the rest.

Your partner has invited game, suggesting about 11 HCP and three spades. Your great controls and nice honor structure suggest you have enough to accept the invitation. Your points in your long suits mean that only your weak spade spots might give you a moment’s pause before bidding on.


♠ K 8 6 3 2
 9 2
 K 10
♣ A K 5 2
South West North East
1 ♠ Pass 1 NT Pass
2 ♣ 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Iain ClimieFebruary 10th, 2018 at 7:59 pm

Gi Bobby,

Apart from the risk of helping declarer, why did wesr double 4H anyway? Assumi g the opposing hearts are 3-1 let,s assume you have 1H and 2S. Unless the oppo have gone well overboard, the other trick will have to be a diamond (or maybe a well placed club honour but that’s stiil just 1 off. Fine declarer play, though.

Regards ,


bobbywolffFebruary 10th, 2018 at 8:47 pm

Hi Iain,

A good and probing question, which only can be answered (at least by me), with raw emotion.

If, in the next life or two, which either of us encounter, managing an aspiring bridge team ,
with some of the necessary assets, talent, desire, and the courage and time to invest whatever it takes, to get there from here, the first order of business would be to blend with partner in what the two of you have in common, and when different views are held, intelligent compromises, being always ready to play, not expecting anything close to perfection (Dame Fortune rides herd to prove that there is no such thing), absolute discipline to the degree of pain, especially with captaincy, both partners thoroughly knowing their system (both bidding and defense) and, more importantly, why. Lack of greed (simply because that emotion, in the long run, is a net loss) and other, possibly more personal challenges, indigenous to the two partners, also need to be thoroughly discussed.

Simply put, West, possibly either being caught up in wanting to beat his “now” opponents as badly as he could (and of course expecting two trump tricks) costly misjudged and in spite, as you wrote, scoring two heart tricks instead of one or none, in fact, gave away the farm.

The other possible reason was that one of his teammates or partner had suggested that he or she had not been doubling enough.

Lesson for the above is be quiet and if someone should ever speak, it is only those who have “been there, done that”, and have the record to prove it. No doubt winning bridge at a higher level, demands dedication and for that matter, hard work with one’s own partner, but not give or take advice from others (no matter their reputation) and reserve one’s bridge opinions to only discuss with who sits across the table.

And, BTW, at least IMO the above are also good lessons in life, just another reason bridge should be taught at an early age and be in every country’s primary educational system.

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