Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 17th, 2018

The worst day at the beach is better than the best day at work.


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


In America, bridge tournaments focus on the bridge. The target is to play two sessions, and at least 50 deals a day. In France, even at the major regional events, players tend to compete in only one long session per day, and that leaves room for the beach in the morning and an extended dinner at night. Cannes and Biarritz are the models for these tournaments, and today’s deal comes from the latter event.

Pierre Saporta was declarer here, on a deal where most of the field had brought home five diamonds painlessly, after a spade lead allowed declarer to get three ruffs in dummy. But against Saporta’s contract of five diamonds doubled, West irritatingly found the best defense of a trump lead. East won the ace and continued the suit; put yourself in declarer’s position and take it from there.

Saporta drew the correct inference that East’s rebid suggested extra values, probably with a 5-3-3-2 pattern. So he won the second round of trumps with dummy’s 10 and immediately led and passed the club 10. West took that with the queen, but there was no further chance for the defense. Declarer could ruff the spade continuation, cash the club and heart aces, then ruff one loser heart in dummy and discard his remaining hearts on dummy’s club winners.

Had East covered the club 10, might South have assumed that East had queen-jack-third of clubs? Then he might have led a club back to the ace to try to ruff out the remaining club honor.

Are you happy jumping to four spades here? You should be, since the call is basically pre-emptive rather than a strong call. With a better hand, such as the spade ace instead of the four, one can use a jump to three no-trump to show a raise to four with some defense. I prefer that meaning for the call rather than having it show a balanced 13-15.


♠ 9 8 7 5 4
 10 6 2
♣ K 10 9 3
South West North East
  Pass 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


Peter PengAugust 31st, 2018 at 1:43 pm

am I correct that players in France are younger than players in the US?

perhaps then more interest on the beach?

bobbywolffAugust 31st, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Hi Peter,

Not sure, but strongly suspect that bridge players almost anywhere in the world are younger than the average age of players in the USA. However since the European players, especially in France have always preferred one long session of bridge rather
than 2 much shorter sessions in order to find time to both beach and eat in a more comfortable manner.

To each his own, but different cultures do different things. Also since bridge is taught in 11 countries in Europe, France being one of them, that is sure evidence that there are more youngsters who love bridge than here.

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