Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 30th, 2018

To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer.


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

Does it matter?

For anyone who hasn’t already wasted far too much of his or her life wondering why Deep Finesse (a program that analyzes bridge hands) never makes a mistake, some of its conclusions can initially be jaw-dropping. What do you think is par for North-South on this deal from the second qualifying session of last November’s Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs? A quick check of losers suggests that it should be easy to score plus 110 in diamonds, clubs or a major-suit part-score — or plus 400 in three no-trump.

Nothing, however, is ever as easy as it looks. Sure, there are nine tricks (five diamonds, three hearts and a spade or a club), but try taking them on the Garozzo play — an opening diamond lead to disrupt the communications. If you win the diamond ace and cash the hearts, the defenders will have a heart and four black-suit winners to cash.

If you win the diamond ace and play a club, planning to unblock the high clubs from dummy to create a low-club entry to hand, then West plays low, and East takes the club queen and can exit with anything but a spade. When declarer plays a second club, West wins and shifts to a spade. Declarer puts up the spade king, and East plays low. Now declarer is locked in dummy to lead a black card, and the defenders can cash out.

The same basic variations apply if declarer wins the diamond king at trick one to play a high club. West wins to play a spade, East plays low and declarer cannot unscramble his tricks.

I can see the argument for rebidding one no-trump rather than two clubs. The former call defines the range of your hand and avoids introducing an honorless suit; but in my opinion, 5-4-2-2 hands play better in a suit contract whenever you can find a fit. So I would bid two clubs, even though I sympathize with the other position.


♠ 8 6
 A K Q 4 3
 A 3
♣ 9 7 4 2
South West North East
1 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


Judy Kay-WolffDecember 14th, 2018 at 5:58 pm

Not only a fabulous hand, but who can argue with the quote!

Ken MooreDecember 15th, 2018 at 12:54 am


I spent 30+ years as a computer programmer so I know how to “really foul things up .” Your comments are exactly right. Computers can figure the odds. But things like cutting communication, suit preference, deceptive bid and play or knowing your opponents tendencies are a few years off.

Bobby WolffDecember 15th, 2018 at 2:54 am

Hi Ken,

You make my mind go back many years ago when a movie”2001, A Space Odyssey”, premiered with a computer named Hal, who became evil and threatened the world. Perhaps sometime ago around 1970 or so.

Probably hasn’t happened yet, but it might, so we have to be careful and not teach computers too much about bridge or they will come up with a death coup or worse.

agencia Seo recomendada Trei esDecember 19th, 2018 at 12:40 am

Estaba buscando esa informacion hace ciclo, te lo
agradezco, estoy de resoluciĆ³n con tu punto de vista y heno igual.
Despues de buscar mucho por Internet encontre lo
que buscaba. Genial!!! muchas gracias