Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, April 28th, 2018

It is really quite impossible to say anything with absolute precision, unless that thing is so abstracted from the real world as to not represent any real thing.

Richard Feynman

S North
N-S ♠ A 7
 K J 6
 A 9 8 2
♣ A K 9 4
West East
♠ K 9
 4 2
 K J 7 4
♣ Q J 8 5 2
♠ Q J 6 4 3
 9 7
 Q 10 5 3
♣ 10 6
♠ 10 8 5 2
 A Q 10 8 5 3
♣ 7 3
South West North East
2 Pass 6 All pass


Today’s hand is from the 2014 Brighton Swiss Teams, and it features a squeeze that is hard to imagine when dummy comes down at trick one, but inasmuch as any squeeze can be said to play itself, this one develops along very straightforward lines.

A few partnerships did find their way to the small heart slam, which rolls home on any lead except a trump, since you can arrange to ruff two spades in dummy.

But it is a completely different story on a trump lead, plus a trump continuation when the defense regains the lead in spades. There will now be just one trump left in dummy to deal with declarer’s two spade losers.

After winning the trump lead, play the ace and another spade. Back comes another heart, but don’t give up. Simply ruff your third spade with dummy’s last trump. Then play the ace and king of clubs, followed by a club ruff.

Now you have two threats, one in each of the black suits, and you know clubs are guarded on your left. So you next run your trumps, keeping close count of the clubs.

When the last heart is played, everyone will be reduced to two cards. West needs to keep his club, therefore must reduce to just one diamond. Having done its duty, the club nine can now be jettisoned from dummy.

Over to East, who cannot part with the spade queen, so he also releases a diamond. Dummy’s diamond nine will win trick 13, and you will have executed a perfect double squeeze!

I have never been a big fan of upgrading a 19-count into a two-no-trump opening bid. This hand feels rather suit-oriented, so opening one club, planning a two-no-trump rebid, seems like the normal action. Sometimes the opponents will help us steer clear of three no-trump when it is right to do so.


♠ A 7
 K J 6
 A 9 8 2
♣ A K 9 4
South West North East
    Pass 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


A V Ramana RaoMay 12th, 2018 at 10:09 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Nice hand. And it would be artistic if dummy holds A 4 3 2 of diamonds with deuce of diamonds taking the slam going trick

Joe1May 12th, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Dummy reversal? I think it works.

BobliptonMay 12th, 2018 at 3:46 pm

Close, Joe1, but at my club, if you announce it prematurely, you’ll trigger a director’s call. Win cheaply in hand, diamond to the Ace, diamond ruff, club to the Ace, diamond ruff, spade to the Ace, diamond ruff,, club to the Ace, club ruff with the Ace, give up a spade. Announce the dummy reversal here, and whoever wins will lead a spade and say you didn’t offer a high cross as an alternative, so play three rounds of trumps, Nyah Nyah.


uMay 12th, 2018 at 3:50 pm

Hi Bob,

Annoying when that happens which is why I prefer to rattle the cards out although I did make one exception many years ago. We were playing a slightly weaker team in England’s Gold Cup who were playing well and we were making no headway. I played in a 6N where there was a clearcut double sq

Iain ClimieMay 12th, 2018 at 3:53 pm

Finger trouble!

… squeeze like the hand today. At Trick 5 I said “You don’t want me to play this do you?” They looked bemused so I showed them my hand and stated my line of play, telling them they were welcome to make me play it out as described with my hand visible. They accepted the offer and 6N rolled home but they seemed slightly unnerved after that and we won comfortably.



BobliptonMay 12th, 2018 at 4:02 pm

Come to think of it, u, none of the players around here would think to unblock the SK, so they couldn’t threaten you with that. Although they’ll call the director and expect him to give you a nasty lecture.


bobbywolffMay 12th, 2018 at 4:21 pm


No doubt your executed double squeeze would take care to discard both the 9 and 8 of diamonds (instead of the deuce) artistically arriving in the same position as your example.

Enabling the great Hungarian (I believe) bridge author, Mr. Darvas to have given the deuce of diamonds a leading role in his thrilling bridge book, “Right Through the Pack”, written many years ago and still popular, recounting where every card in the pack (all 52) is so granted the spotlight for his moment to shine.

Of course, if the defense was granted three leads instead of only two (both necessary trump leads), it would be a diamond, cutting the communications necessary to effect the double squeeze.

Therefore the defense could cry foul for not giving them the right rules and therefore methods to defend themselves. Probably happens in horrible real wars also, but what is a rules maker supposed to do?

bobbywolffMay 12th, 2018 at 4:35 pm

Hi Joe,

As happens often, I am late for the party, but no dummy reversal, just doesn’t function in the end game, although to the naked eye it may seem like it.

Also your best chance is, as others have suggested, just claim and perhaps the opponents will concede, not prepared to incur your wrath. At least their possible reluctance will give you time to change your tune to making on a double squeeze, so depending how you stand with the TD, he either will allow or not, likely depending either on how good a customer you are or whether you have ever stolen his girl friend.

A V Ramana RaoMay 12th, 2018 at 4:49 pm

Hi again Dear Mr Wolff
Thanks.When I hurriedly posted , I did not notice the deuce of diamond. ( while I read the nine of diamonds will wvin the last trick. Sorry.) And fortunately, I possess the great book ” Right through the pack” and also Julian Pottage’s tribute to Darvas in the form of a sequel ” Back through the Pack” . Both make for a wonderful reading

bobbywolffMay 12th, 2018 at 4:58 pm

Hi Iain,

While various squeezes also work while playing NT, they tend to be less complicated, likely because of the earlier trumping while playing in a suit contract, which is likely necessary in establishing the winning ending (please notice the rhyme).

Somehow, while to my dismay we have never met in person, I picture you as Gulliver rather than a tiny Lilliputian, thus being in a favored position to win most arguments, likely early in the discussion, certainly including claiming as declarer. However never a phony one. (feel inclined to offer that illustrative caveat).

bobbywolffMay 12th, 2018 at 5:53 pm


Yes, back in the day (many do not like that phrase since it tends to imply its speaker is very old, true, but being so, is just part of life’s adventure), the books written, mostly by Europeans, had a great influence in making our game, majestic, challenging and worthwhile.

The sad part of where we are now, at least on this side of the pond, is the dumbing down of the teaching to child like (6 and 7 year old
high card win mentalities) which no one could ever imagine, since that game was never back then, nor especially today, worth playing, nor even discussing.

One may then ask, how can we then teach new players to want to learn and thus create incentive to get involved? First by singing the wonders of what our game represents, once the learning stage starts making sense.

Yes people are busy now and entertainment abounds with new found communications where ever people happen to be, afoot, on their way to, at work, or, of course, at home.

All well and good, but what people are missing by not playing bridge is hardly ever mentioned, since a large percentage of people, especially the ones blessed with numeracy (thinking in terms of numbers, not words) will absolutely fall in love with it, because of all the wonderful attributes it comes with, life’s logic, problem solving, bonding with the right partner, legal communication, competitiveness at high educational levels, complete with clever legal deception, while at the same time a strong ethical responsibility to play fairly and to demand of others to do the same.

Instead of the horrible blasphemous and vulgar political criticism which is so prevalent in today’s society, will come admiration for those who excel and/or to others who are headed in that direction. IOW almost all good, nothing bad, and a chance to accomplish talent with some large percent of a game which will never be totally mastered, but only challenged, even at the top.

As of now we need bridge lovers to come to the aid of the game and sing its praises in order to stop the lethargy which has taken over, everywhere except in Europe and Asia where they have seen fit to carry on its incredible tradition by doing its kids a great service, by teaching them its values in their primary and secondary schools.

The above is easier said then done, but without it, the ones who let it die, will be responsible for a deed much more heinous than so many will ever begin to realize.

A V Ramana RaoMay 13th, 2018 at 5:11 am

Hi Dear Mr. Wolff
I can clearly understand the anguish in your words. For such a senior person like you who won many world championships and tried to promote Bridge in every possible way, the fact that the game is not getting sufficient attention must be truly painful. Yes many people lament that only older generation continues to play bridge the charm of the game notwithstanding . In view of the above, why not put into action the idea germinated by few blog readers sometime back ie publishing a book. Perhaps very instructive deals ( pardon me- though all the deals are instructive, we need to select a few)from BWTA and Q&A from Sunday columns can be compiled into a book perhaps series of books with a preface highlighting how fascinating Bridge can be and emphasizing the thrill of getting induced and playing Bridge.
If I can be of any avail for any sort of contribution in either compiling or anything else, I would gladly offer myself
With Best Regards

bobbywolffMay 13th, 2018 at 3:03 pm


Thanks much for both your right-on comment and for your over the top offer to do whatever you can to help on the project you recommend.

What is very difficult to impossible for me to understand is that, at least in Europe (haven’t heard much from China, though, over the years I have lost contact with the specific people I used to know, there is no reason for me to believe that it is not going well) there are rave notices about its progress in Europe, (eleven different countries) from the teachers and the students, and what one may think is perhaps most important, the parents of the students.

The irritating lack of interest in Horn Lake, Mississippi in following up on this project, by visiting or at least, getting in touch with our countries official Educational department seems to me the first step, since upon doing so they can ask us, what, besides what and why is happening overseas, do we visualize why it will go well in our hemisphere (or at least in the USA) and set up some original contacts to which we could go forward, with at least some assurance they will at least seriously look into the matter.

Seemingly, with the ACBL, they are in a process of dumbing down the game in our monthly magazine so that, at least in their opinion, others may try and learn how to play, creating a future so that they will be able to keep their jobs in the years ahead.

Truthfully, at this point, instead of the enthusiastic support, starting in 1936 in the Northeast (early Greeenwich, Connecticut, I believe our first home office) and then continuing on through the first 40 or 50 years, the turnover now seem to be mostly hired workers,many of which do not even, nor never did, even play the game themselves.

What we need is at least a partial visionary who understands what you and I, (as well as practically our whole AOB bridge site does) what a wonderful exercise, challenge and learning experience our sensational game stands for and why it would very soon, if not immediately, enrapture students (who were at least born with reasonable numeracy, otherwise known as a fondness for numbers, daily used in their lives).

The course, beginning in elementary school, would at least start out as an elective, but IMO might easily grow into a required subject, if only because of the real life logic which bridge embraces more than most any other type course, except of course likely our language itself.

IOW, it is difficult for me to understand why our recent CEO’s haven’t followed the lead of both Europe and China and go all out to “sell” our countries Educational administrators on the huge positives which bridge learning will manifest, if for no other reason but arithmetical maturity, problem solving, partnership communication by code (bidding), ethical behavior, and the kicker, competitive application which best symbolizes a so-called capitalistic society,

Obviously we could go on from here, but first I, or perhaps (we) need to at least generate some interest with our parent organization (or, for that matter with some of the better (and much younger) professional players who would volunteer to do what they can to help (AFAIK, no one has stepped forward to help, at least as of yet).

Again, I sincerely appreciate your response, and wish for (since at my age it is difficult for me to do a whole lot more than that) some help and coordinated effort since, without, how can anything constructive happen for our future in our Western Hemisphere, if we, or no one else, does nothing?

Believe me, beginning bridge in itself will not attract any worthwhile attention since it is just not entertaining, nor in a word, even worthwhile. It needs to start with very young students who will be introduced to it, behind closed doors.


ClarksburgMay 13th, 2018 at 3:37 pm

The idea of a “book” has been dormant for a while.
I have pasted in here my most recent thoughts, as passed along to Mircea via e-mail:

1) Bobby writes, often at some length and in full detail, virtually EVERY DAY! So it doesn’t seem
necessary for him to have to write anything specifically for a “book”
2) There’s already a wealth of material right there in the Blog’s archives.
3) You’ve already pointed out the possibility of making the Archives searchable (if technically
do-able and legally permissible).
4) It has also occurred to me that our “regulars” might simply indicate their “favourites” and provide the Dates of the archived items. If they couldn’t do that at present, perhaps they could begin now to keep a record over a year or two.
5) If each regular could provide, say, about ten favourites, then an “e-book” might simply provide live links to those archived items. Because many / most regulars are quite “expert”, there would be a built-in desirable bias toward Bobby’s wish for it to be top-level stuff. However if considered desirable there could also be a section for Intermediate / Developing players.
6) Bobby could also begin now to log his own favourites…that would give voice to his key teachings and priority messages.

A V Ramana RaoMay 14th, 2018 at 9:11 am

Hi Clarksburg
With reference to your post, I would like to mention as below:
Regarding the possibility of making the Archives searchable (if technically
do-able and legally permissible) : Regarding technicality, I foresee no problem as every archive column is hyperlinked and regarding legality too , there should be no problem as Mr. Wolff is the host of the site. However, Mr. Wolff may please comment
& regarding—“If each regular could provide, say, about ten favourites, then an “e-book” might simply provide live links to those archived items.”
Few regular bloggers who are interested in contributing to be identified and each can initially contribute about ten pages of material and instead of providing links, the text may be copied and pasted and also provide the link as reference. The text may be edited , compiled and offered to Mr. Wolff who will have the last word

I suggest the identification of bloggers who can contribute should be top priority and a deadline of about week to ten days( which, I think shall be adequate) shall be indicated for the first set of compilations
You will agree that for a book to succeed, structure and presentation play a vital role. So these need to be addressed.
Also, We should identify the target readers, whether rank beginners, medium players or advanced ones and prepare : if necessary there can be multiple books for catering to each segment.

If the above is acceptable, perhaps we may move forward

bobbywolffMay 14th, 2018 at 3:52 pm


First, thanks for all your comments which may be obviously necessary (along with Clarksburg’s and probably Mircea’s opinions and suggestions) to, at the very least get started on what you suggest as a method to get off to a roaring start.

My immediate reaction, while very positive, seriously needs a manager and I vote possibly a combination of Clarksburg (who initially conceived the idea and is well on his way in creating text) and of course, you, as his technical assistant, with also Mircea, especially on the subjects you seem very well versed in, to, between you, cover the necessary bases.

The above is only a suggestion and is not meant to interfere between the two (or three) of you or others who may then be added.

To me, it seems to be an overwhelming project, beyond my kin, but I’ll be standing by ready to do what I need to, just in case it comes to reality.

Please understand that if the workload appears to become just too much, please then cease and desist since it would be difficult for me to imagine, in spite of the bridge good it may eventually accomplish, the pay grade, even if anything develops, could never satisfy you two or anyone you may add, but only be done as a labor of love for our wondrous game.

In any event I will now prompt Clarksburg to read what appears to be a very cogent beginning plan.

And above all good luck and GOD’s speed!

ClarksburgMay 14th, 2018 at 5:19 pm

Just for the record.
The initial suggestion of a book was not mine. It was Mircea’s.
By the way, I really like AVRR’s suggestion of “cut-and-paste” material from blog items, with the archived item linked as a reference.
I currently visualize this venture as being built around “daily life here on this blog”, and it’s value to those who drop in here regularly, i.e a “cast of characters” each having a say.
To give this a kick start, I will volunteer to draft my contribution (from an Intermediate Club Player’s viewpoint). Give me a week or two.