Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Baldrick: Have you got a plan, my lord?
Prince Edmund: Yes, I have — and it’s so cunning, you could brush your teeth with it!


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

*Singleton club, agreeing diamonds


The single mistake more players make than any other is failing to devise a detailed plan as declarer before playing to the first trick. Today’s deal saw two declarers in six diamonds, with only one of them taking his time — and, as a result, taking his tricks.

Both Wests found the testing trump lead. The first declarer won in hand, then set off on a cross-ruff spree. He ruffed two clubs in dummy and a heart in hand; but when he exited from dummy with the spade king, East took his ace and returned a trump. That took the last trump from dummy, so that although one of South’s clubs could be discarded on the spade queen, there was no place to dispose of the other one. The contract had to go one down.

The second declarer quickly noticed that setting up clubs was unlikely to work, assuming the defenders would persist in trumps at their next turn.

He, too, won the lead in hand, but he then led a spade to the king and ace. Back came a trump, and upon winning in dummy, South ruffed a spade in hand. A heart to the ace allowed another spade ruff, with the 4-3 spade break a welcome sight.

Now declarer led a heart to the king and ruffed a heart with his last trump. The club ace and a club ruff in dummy saw him draw the last trump. Dummy’s spades took tricks 12 and 13. In essence, this was a dummy reversal; the hand with the shorter trump suit drew the last trump.

Your partner’s jump to three hearts suggests real extra values, and your combination of the fifth trump and singleton are just enough to bid game — if you trust your partner. There are many people who would bid this way without too much in the way of extras; is your partner one of them?


♠ J 9 8 3
 Q 10 9 4 3
♣ 9 6 2
South West North East
  1 ♣ Dbl. Pass
1 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 ClimieJuly 25th, 2018 at 11:26 am

Hi Bobby,

I don’t know how familiar most people your side of the pond will be with Blackadder but there were 4 series set in different historical periods. Edmund Blackadder is something of an idiot in the first one but then Baldrick takes over, becoming denser and smellier in 2 to 4. The last episode of series 4 (set in WW1 trenches) is actually quite grim and moving for a comedy. How is this relevant to bridge?

In Blackadder S3 an enraged Edmund finds out that Baldrick has done something particularly dense, triggering the following conversation:

EB “Baldrick!”
B “Yes, Mr. B?”
EB “What goes come here Baldrick, Ow?”
B “Dunno Mr. B”
EB “Come here Baldrick”
B “Ooooooowwwww!”

Haven’t we all seen partnerships like that?

Nice hand today, though demonstrating how easy it is to muddle play when there are too many options. I always reckon the worst sort of hands are thin major suit games with only a couple of obvious losers, but a slight paucity of tricks and uncertainty on whether to set up a suit, cross-ruff, how many rounds of trumps to draw etc.



bobbywolffJuly 25th, 2018 at 1:41 pm

Hi Iain,

Thanks, much, for the literary, historical and downright hurtful (feel it from here for Baldrick), description.

No, I, for one, am not at all familiar with Blackadder and its series, but love the updating, not to mention knowledge, to more or less (at least for me) justify our choosing the opening quote.

Moreover, and on this occasion, where you kindly explained, in your always original fashion, the personalities involved, only shows, in spades, the value of world wide friendships when cultural, or for that matter, any and all, historically based literature of value which, in turn, has a vital significance in making us all better educated.

After all, what better reason for life itself, than to leave, as a more rounded person than when we all first appeared.

At least the above can serve as a commercial for trying to solve the intense and horrific problems to which our whole troubled world is constantly afflicted.

Just maybe, “Bridge for Peace”, is coming more alive than I feared.

Thank you! And for a word to all about today’s hand, try and have an overall decent plan as declarer, even if it starts out, as it often does, sort of murky.

Iain ClimieJuly 25th, 2018 at 2:17 pm

Hi Bobby, Folks,

Just a quick flavour can be found at:

All very twisted and very British. For anyone historically minded, the series were set around 1485 near the end of the Wars of the Roses, Elizabethan times in England (where QE1 is a crazed psychopath), the Regency around 1810 to 1815 (where Prince George, the future George IV, is an idiot) and then in 1917 in the French trenches.



Judy Kay-WolffJuly 25th, 2018 at 6:57 pm

Hi Iain,

What a fantastic flavor you ‘added’ to Blackadder’s background which I read and enjoyed. Amazing what opportunities both AOB and the Internet provide!

Iain ClimieJuly 25th, 2018 at 8:56 pm

Hi Judy,

My pleasure and glad you enjoyed it. It might even shed a little light on how such a small country could have so much influence (and often create so much global havoc) over the years, despite having many senior military officers and politicians best described as front row lemmings. There have of course been exceptions too although Churchill was famously half-American.