Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, April 9th, 2018

When vain desire at last and vain regret
  Go hand in hand to death and all is vain,
  What shall assuage the unforgotten pain
And teach the unforgetful to forget?

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

N North
None ♠ J
 Q 8 5 3
 A K Q 9 8 6 5
♣ 5
West East
♠ A K Q 10 7 6 3
 K 7 4
♣ 3 2
♠ 9 8 5 4 2
 A J 2
 J 3
♣ 8 7 6
♠ —
 10 9 6
 10 7 4
♣ A K Q J 10 9 4
South West North East
    1 Pass
2 ♣ 2 ♠ 3 4 ♠
5 ♣ 5 ♠ Pass Pass
6 ♣ 6 ♠ Pass Pass
7 ♣ All pass    


All the deals this week come from last year’s Gold Coast tournament in Brisbane, Australia. Our first deal features a great rarity, where a director call cost 25 IMPs. Cometh the hour, cometh the hand …

Good news: You are in a grand slam. Bad news: They lead an ace in the suit where you have a singleton. Good news: The lead is out of turn! Do you call the director or accept the lead?

Before I give you the denouement, when Molly O’Donohue and Philip Thompson were North-South, they also bid to the delicate grand slam, but in clubs, on the auction shown.

Maybe West should have known not to lead spades — but surely the diamond ace was never going to get away! Be that as it may, while a heart lead might have been the killer for one side or the other, a diamond was led, and O’Donohue wrapped up 13 tricks.

Back to our director call, where our players are veiled in the concealing gauze of anonymity that only a willfully forgetful tournament director can provide. He was summoned to another table where (on an auction similar to the one shown) it was North at the helm in seven diamonds, after East had overcalled one spade. However, West led the spade king out of turn.

North was given his options and, rejecting Goldwater’s Rule (“If they don’t know whose lead it is, they are probably leading the wrong thing”), triumphantly banned the spade lead. So East led the heart ace and continued the suit, to cash out for down two.

I could imagine leading the diamond king, trying to cash two or three tricks in the suit on the go, but dummy rates to be relatively short in diamonds, so I might not accomplish much by this lead. An alternative approach, which I prefer, might be to lead trumps, hoping the hearts will not run for declarer, and that I can stop the cross-ruff.


♠ 10 4 3
 J 5 3 2
 K 7
♣ Q 10 8 4
South West North East
  1 Pass 1 ♠
Pass 2 ♠ Pass 3 ♣
Pass 4 ♠ All 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 ClimieApril 23rd, 2018 at 11:10 am

Hi Bobby,

Hilarious (and shades of Mollo’s Secretary Bird, invoking the rules to his own cost) but what did you make of the auctions on the hand today, though? South was prepared to play in 5C but then bids 6 and then 7. Something odd is going on here. surely, and South must be able to cope with a spade lead when he takes the push over 6S or he’d take the money and double. I’d also loved to have been able to read North’s thoughts (or just watch his expression) when South bid 6C and 7C (that madman thinks I’ve made a forcing pass might be one of the calmer possibilities) while I think I’d have doubled 6S as North and taken the money.

On LWTA, the good club holding surely argues for a trump lead as well.



Bobby WolffApril 23rd, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Hi Iain,

Although there is a lighter side to our wondrous game, it does not always feel that way, all the way from a social bridge game (and especially while playing for coin of the realm) right up through various championships and all the way to the World Championship.

Gaffes, although sometimes defined as a social blunder, have too often contributed mightily to a change of winners and even in the early rounds of crucial KO events have no doubt, caused teams capable of winning the whole magilla, to be KOed early, never to play again in that event at that time since the rules simply demand as much.

When I first heard of the relatively large sign that apparently exists in the locker rooms at the world famous Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London which reads something like “One must learn to deal with victory and defeat and treat those two imposters just the same” I, of course, applied that exquisite behavior to many an important bridge tournament.

No easy task, that, but one which is as prevalent with competition in our great game at least as much, and likely more, as it is in tennis, golf or you name it, sometimes and usually worse, including life in general.

Easy to quote, very difficult to practice, much less to always fulfill.

BTW, I agree with all of your emotions, which lead to your likely sensible actions as North, with the column hand, especially your choice of lead with the LWTA.

Bill CubleyApril 23rd, 2018 at 1:56 pm

Thanks for not publishing the hand where I went for 4,000. 😉

BobliptonApril 23rd, 2018 at 4:08 pm

Lose 3?


Bobby WolffApril 23rd, 2018 at 4:54 pm

Hi Bill & Bob,

Amplication to Bob’s, Lose 3:
Consecutive weekly tournaments, not IMPs

Besides Bill, how could your partner pass your
SOS redouble? or did you mean beautiful women? If so, how many responded in kind?
and, if so, how many more future Me, Too’s did you create?

Bill CubleyApril 26th, 2018 at 1:34 pm


My male partner made a TO Double of 1 Diamond with 1=7=2=3 shape. He did make amends by paying my entry for the next 3 sectionals. So it was not a total loss. And it was matchpoints rather than IMPS.

It is a sign of maturity on my part that he still lives as I was born in Detroit. 😉

I do not have any Me TOO incidents. But tell Judy I was dumped for an Orthodox Church Deacon in the 1970s. Most women think that is a very happy ending.

Bobby WolffApril 26th, 2018 at 6:08 pm

Hi Bill,

Sorry for the delay in responding, but sometimes I neglect past posts.

Yes, being born in Detroit should, at the very least, enable you to plan how to set someone else up for the following 3 sectionals after your current deal runs its course.

What makes you think that other women pull for each other and perhaps they also hated the one who dumped you and guess that one of their own has now committed to celibacy, never a bad idea to remove competition.

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