Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 19th, 2018

Life without industry is guilt, industry without art is brutality.

John Ruskin

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

*Clubs, 10-15 points

**Two places to play


Wang Wenfei is a world champion who is generally regarded as one of the best players in the world. In last year’s Hua Yuan Cup (an annual women’s event held in China), in the match between China and France, she and her partner Shen Qi showed excellent judgment and aggression in the bidding and then had to back it up in the play.

On the last board of the session, Wang became the declarer in five hearts doubled after a highly competitive auction. As you can see, four spades is a perfectly sensible contract, though one defeated on the defensive ruffs. But more than half the field was in five hearts doubled, and everyone but Wang went down, from one to four tricks!

The spade king was led to trick one. Declarer took her ace and ducked a diamond. West took the king to play back a spade, and declarer ruffed the spade return in dummy to run the diamond jack, discarding a club. After winning West’s club return, she played the heart queen to pin the jack; when West ducked, declarer drew the trumps in three rounds and ruffed out the diamond queen, for plus 650.

The defense could have done better if West had covered the heart queen; now she must score the heart nine one way or another. Conversely, declarer could have ruffed the second diamond instead of discarding. Now she would be able to lead the heart queen from her hand and lose just one more trick, no matter what West did.

The three-heart call is forcing. Once you bid voluntarily, your partner showed real extras, so you must bid again. This hand doesn’t feel right for a bid of three no-trump, so the choice is to bid clubs or raise hearts. I think a four-club call is more flexible. If partner bids four diamonds, you can bid four hearts and maybe get back to hearts.


♠ 9 8 6 4
 Q 8 3 2
♣ K Q 9 2
South West North East
  1 Dbl. 2
2 ♠ 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