Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, August 4th, 2018

You can never plan the future by the past.

Edmund Burke

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

*9-12 HCP; raise in spades with
  unspecified shortness


Against four spades, West leads the diamond four. South can see that he has no losers in the black suits, but he must plan to take care of three losing hearts and two losing diamonds.

A logical plan is to try to trump two of these cards in dummy. An alternative is to set up dummy’s long club suit to provide a home for his losers. Either plan would be sensible, but setting up the long suit may offer the better odds.

South takes East’s diamond jack with his ace, then lays down the spade king. When West discards a high heart, it looks right for South to shift to clubs, hoping the suit breaks 3-2. He leads the club king and plays a second club to the ace. East ruffs in and finds the best defense by leading a heart to the queen and king, then he wins the diamond king to play the spade jack.

Declarer must win this in dummy to continue ruffing out the clubs. But beware! South must simultaneously unblock a high spade from hand under the jack to ensure that dummy’s spade eight remains an entry. So declarer contributes the nine, wins the trump ace and ruffs a club with the 10. Now he can ruff a heart low in dummy, ruff the fourth club with the queen and draw East’s last trump by leading his six to the eight.

For the record, if East had returned a red suit after winning his diamond king, declarer would be able to take the rest by scoring his seven trumps separately. In the two-card ending, East’s spade jack would be caught in a trump coup.

The answer here may be more about style than judgment. I would respond one heart, hoping to find a major-suit fit. I tend to use the one-diamond response as natural but tending to deny a major unless in a game-forcing hand. So in response to one diamond as opener, I would tend to bypass rebidding a major if balanced. Thus, the one-heart response helps us find our side’s fit.


♠ J 7 5 4
 A 8 7 4
 K 10 9 3
♣ J
South West North East
    1 ♣ 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


jim2August 18th, 2018 at 10:29 pm

I have an older relative who would like to play bridge via a pc program on a mac. That is, not on-line with other people, but as a solo game.

The individual is somewhere between beginner and intermediate, and wants a user friendly game version.

Bridge baron is one that person has played, but the bidding and play has become sufficiently idiotic that another program is sought. One d/l via AARP turned out to be free but so chocked with ads and not user friendly, that it was not even worth its “price.”

Any suggestions?

bobbywolffAugust 19th, 2018 at 2:03 am

Hi Jim2,

If I am not a computer moron, no doubt I am as
close as I can get.

Therefore I do not attempt to keep up with various bridge games which involve them.

I might suggest for you or him to call the ACBL in Horn Lake, Ms and they may be able to help. If not, you may check with Bridgewinners which no doubt have some of their staff which may have some ideas Also The Bridge World magazine at

Good luck in getting help for your older relative.

jim2August 19th, 2018 at 2:07 am


Maybe some of your other groupies here will have something they like.

Ken MooreAugust 19th, 2018 at 2:25 am

Check out DealMaster Pro:

I have not used it but it comes very highly recommended.

Michael BeyroutiAugust 19th, 2018 at 5:23 am

Jim2: If you Google search computer-bridge world championships you’ll find the names of several bridge playing programs.
Not seen recently is Jack: I tried it and liked it a lot. It was world champion for 7 years in a row… Now Qbridge5 is the champ.
P.S. I don’t think of myself as a groupie. I simply admire and respect Bobby Wolff and have been addicted to AOB for 35 years… So I guess that makes me a groupie!

Michael BeyroutiAugust 19th, 2018 at 5:37 am

Jim2: If your friend is dissatisfied with one he won’t necessarily be happier with one of the others. They all act as morons at some point during the auction or on defense.

jim2August 19th, 2018 at 10:49 am

TY all!

I did the google routine before posting my request here.

What I am hoping for is that one or more of my fellow denizens here has personal experience with one, can recommend it, and might be willing to answer some Qs on it.

JonathanAugust 21st, 2018 at 2:25 am

Dealmaster pro is not what you are looking for. it just runs simulations and does not “play” bridge. I’d second the recommendation for Jack.