Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

He who shall teach the child to doubt The rotting grave shall ne’er get out.

William Blake

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


It is easy to pay lip service to the idea that juniors are the future of the game, but over the last few decades we have rarely seen our organizations putting their money where their mouths are.

Getting bridge teachers into schools is one very important way to introduce children to the game. Getting them to learn the rules of bidding may take second place to allowing them to play cards and get a feel for the game. Once that starts to happen, who knows where it may take them?

I’m pleased to say that today’s deal, sent to me by Suleyman Kolata, comes from a junior event: a Swiss teams tournament at the 20th Iskenderun Bridge Festival in Hatay, Turkey. Sitting West was Tuana Altun, age 8, playing with her brother Toygar Tuncay Altun. Tuana heard the auction as shown, to six hearts. What would you have led?

Tuana found the killing club lead for an 11 IMP gain, since her teammates had played in game rather than slam. Consequently, this victory helped them win the under-16 teams. When her father asked Tuana about her lead and continuation of a club after winning the heart ace, Tuana said that the bidding had told her that the opponents held a big club fit. She felt confident that if her partner could not ruff at the first trick, her trump control would give her a second chance.

For the record, 23 out of 31 tables made the heart slam here.

After your initial pass, your partner will assume that you have fewer than 6 high-card points. But do you have enough to compete to two spades now? I say yes, but I’d understand anyone who would pass, feeling that the singleton club, combined with holding only four trumps, argues for defending, not declaring.


♠ J 10 6 4
 10 7 5 2
 10 9 8 2
♣ J
South West North East
    1 ♣ Dbl.
Pass 1 Dbl. 2

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


Bob LiptonOctober 16th, 2018 at 9:55 am

While jumping to 6 Hearts over 4 Hearts has its attraction, particularly at pairs, the bidding marks south with a void and indicates that the club fit is at least as good as good as the heart fit, so well done indeed. Of course, a sneakier (i.e. older) player might have tried some misdirection like bidding Blackwood, or bid 6 Clubs to offer a choice.

Of course, had the contract been 6C, East would have had Axxx in Hearts….


A V Ramana RaoOctober 16th, 2018 at 11:15 am

H Dear Mr. Wolff
It is indeed dlightful to read that an eight year old girl could reason so well. May her tribe increase
And perhaps NS should be playing Six clubs considering this is a team event but then, the brilliance of the young girl would not have come to light.

A V Ramana RaoOctober 16th, 2018 at 11:20 am

& perhaps there should be a mechanism of reaching 6 NT which makes on any lead and any defense. You may please reflect

jim2October 16th, 2018 at 11:56 am

I am surprised that North did not respond 2N more often, showing a balanced game-forcing raise.

I think at MPs this would lead to 6N frequently.

Iain ClimieOctober 16th, 2018 at 12:59 pm

Hi Folks,

If South isn’t using Blackwood, isn’t the diamond void a fairly clearcut inference so North could possibly mastermind the contract to 6NT, especially as the oppo haven’t bid spades so partner must have strength there. I accept that I would never hear the last of it if it failed, of course; accusations of playing far too much pairs would be the very kindest comment I’d get. Also, South might have AQ KJ10xxx none AKxxx, a spade gets led and clubs are 2-2 …. I’m assuming 2C is GF given South’s 3C rebid.


jim2October 16th, 2018 at 1:56 pm

Well, as I posted before, I expected the auction to go:

1H – 2N

Now South makes the system bid to either show 5-5 or diamond shortness.

North shows diamond concentration, and South considers his/her spade holding and the form of scoring, and bids 6N.

bobbywolffOctober 16th, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Hi Bob, AVRR, Jim2, & Iain,

First thanks to all of you for your keen interest in not only this hand, but for the cast of characters, all under 16 years of age, who were playing it.

Surely, for all of us, this hand can (should) represent just some of the wonders of our game, which at almost all ages, causes the players involved to use their minds, not only to do the best they can, very normal when intelligent competition is in the mix, but indeed extremely healthy to allow bridge puzzles to mirror life’s logic on the way to greater accomplishments later in life, but allowing very young children to get an early start, if for no other reason, than to win competitive contests based on superior thought processes (or, if not always superior, one that is, at least, successful that time).

Imagine the thrill for Tuana when her lead and continuation defeated the slam, all because of her. How much superior is that form of education rather than being the strongest “bully” in one’s class or born with the most athletic talent together with being either the best looking student around or the one who at least theoretically, has the highest IQ.

With bridge, let the winner explain and, as we all know, lady luck being a devil, that mantle is passed from one player (or better said, one partnership) to another as a matter of course, during only as little as one session of our glorious game.

In any event, although South, playing a now modern style should probably jump to 4 diamonds (as we all know, showing shortness over partner’s 2 clubs initial bid) allowing NS to eventually reach (or come close) to declaring 6NT as you four have pointed out).

However dame fortune being who she is, would then deprive Tuana the disservice of not being able to shine, me, to not receive that hand, and all of us not to appreciate just what an eight year old can accomplish.

If the USA National Education system is never exposed to the wonders of bridge, logically brought to them by a combination of its home office (Horn Lake, MS) and the ACBL BODs it is only our bridge leadership which is failing, which in truth, and unless looked into ASAP could mean in not too many years to cause the extinction of our beautiful, glamorous, and utmost challenging mind game, no doubt, and at least to me, the best, along with Chess, ever conceived.

Thanks to all four of you for your worthwhile comments to which I am sincerely impressed with not only your bridge interest, but along with me, to stand in awe of an eight year old being directed to use her considerable mind the rest of her life on earth.

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste”!

Iain ClimieOctober 16th, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Hi Jim2,

After 1H 2N North is going to be playing 6N whether on this hand or the one I quoted – “system fix” in the latter case. TOCM will then put the SK offside in 6N and make the club ruff possible in 6H (or a heart ruff possible in 6C). I think you’d be OK on the column hand today in 6N though – provided partner remembered all the subtleties of the agreed replies to 2N!


bobbywolffOctober 17th, 2018 at 3:29 pm

Hi Iain,

Thanks much for your basic tribute to Jim2, enabling him to the at least likelihood, of scoring up a laydown contract to which even the most sour luck, cannot defeat.

However, yes perhaps TOCM TM even stoops so low to enter player’s minds, when all other hope is lost, causing a system forget, which cancels an above average result leaving Jim2 to only lament. “just another day at the office”.

sky casino skyrimOctober 20th, 2018 at 10:08 am

One does don’t have one, uncover you can photograph a neighbor’s furry companion. It can be
usually drive in order to a website and to get an easily accessed body of are

mbajobsdubai.comOctober 20th, 2018 at 4:49 pm

What’s up, I want to subscribe for this blog to get
most up-to-date updates, so where can i do it please assist.

download app sky777October 21st, 2018 at 7:46 am

This is the place to pickup the most traffic. I’ve
always had a wonderful relationship with
Healthy Planet magazine. When are meeting a designer, wearing black is a seriously cool
color to stun.