Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Those who live in a cold climate and in Northern Europe are full of spirit but wanting in intelligence and skill; and therefore they keep their freedom, but have no political organization and are incapable of ruling over others.


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


When Rita Oldroyd died, Great Britain lost one of the backbones of their women’s team through the 1970s. Her team won two European Championships and a silver at the World Championships. She was also England’s first woman Grand Master.

Although she was almost blind toward the end of her life, she won a big pairs event two weeks before her death, and the Las Palmas pairs in the Canary Islands shortly before that.

Oldroyd was both an outspoken and entertaining character, never afraid to speak her mind, but capable of subtle and sophisticated play, as shown in today’s deal from a teams event.

Where Oldroyd’s teammates were East-West, their opponents reached three no-trump on a diamond lead. Declarer ducked twice, took the third, cashed the heart king, then played the club ace and king. When the queen failed to drop, South could not afford to cash dummy’s heart ace, so played a third club, stranding the winner in dummy. West won, cashed the last diamond, then got off lead with a spade, and declarer had to go one down.

In the other room, Oldroyd was partnering Alan Hiron, and they also reached three no-trump. After the same opening lead, Oldroyd also won the third diamond and cashed her heart king, but then played the ace, followed by a low club.

She had set up the game-going tricks, but, unlike the other declarer, was able to access her winners, since she had a club entry to dummy and spade entries to hand that could not be disrupted.

Life is too short to worry about reaching slam off two cashing spade tricks (what does partner have if that were so?). Your hand is not ideal for Blackwood, though — you want partner to do the asking, since you have such an easy hand to show. I would cue-bid four clubs and hope partner can take control. Over a four-heart signoff, I would bid five diamonds.


♠ 8 2
 A 10 9 7 5
 A 7 2
♣ A K 7
South West North East
    1 ♣ Pass
1 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


Michael BeyroutiDecember 19th, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Dear Mr Aristotle, please google the words “British Empire” and you’ll see how wrong you were.

Iain ClimieDecember 19th, 2018 at 1:16 pm

Hi Michael,

Don’t forget the British urge to get away form our weather (now shown by tourism) may have been a factor too! See also the Vikings settling Normandy before conquering England. An alternative approach to colder climes is the Russian passion for vodka (and chess too, I suppose).


Iain Climie

Bobby WolffDecember 19th, 2018 at 2:20 pm

Hi Michael & Iain,

In those days (a couple of years back), perhaps the great Aristotle (at least his Greek habitat) was just too far away, or like many of us today, think they know more than anyone about others, in actuality, perhaps only told or read about but, virtually unknown to him.

Maybe philosophers should practice voluntary restraint and therefore show respect to those they know not of.

However, there are a few of us who may be qualified to comment on any and everything, but modesty keeps me from telling you who that may be.

And comparing chess and Vodka is similar to the line about “love and marriage”, “you can’t drink one and play the other”.

Perhaps, like Aristotle, I have that song backwards. Beware of Greeks and Americans giving either gifts or opinions.

Ken MooreDecember 19th, 2018 at 5:55 pm

All, Aristotle is quoted as saying, “The slave is an animate tool and the tool is an inanimate slave.”

Iain, the weather is 90% great here in New Mexico.

Meanwhile, back at the bride table, it is easy to see how us commoners would make this mistake but I do not see how a tournament player would do so.

Bobby WolffDecember 19th, 2018 at 7:24 pm

Hi Ken,

What the “H”?

All English speakers would tend to know what that means, but weather and whether are quite different.

Furthermore, although Aristotle likely did not speak English, perhaps as you point out there can be many reasons, some small, but others great for some to and others not to.

Not to mention that shopping at a bride table can sometimes be even more frustrating, if possible, than a bridge table.

Viva for 90% good weather, but also hooray for freedom and good organization. Some prefer natural “loose as a goose” tendencies, aka Acol, and others opt for “Precision”.

So there, brides and bridge can be congruent, so be careful what you look for or, in this case, just how you spell it.

BTW Ken, many a tournament player may not see the winning line, but in any case, it might be arguable.

Dancing in bridge is quite different than on the floor, or is it flour?

Iain ClimieDecember 19th, 2018 at 11:11 pm

Hi Ken,

We actually had a long, fairly hot and pretty dry summer this year. Normal service has since resumed. This is also the country that invented cricket, a game where rain stops play. Draw your own conclusions there.



Bill CubleyDecember 20th, 2018 at 12:49 am


I am short on philosophy.

Aristotle, “To be is to do.”
Spinoza, “To do is to be.”
Sinatra, “Do be do be do”

I probably got the first two names wrong.

Merry Christmas to all. Dickens

Bobby WolffDecember 20th, 2018 at 2:47 am

Hi Bill,

The Dickens you say, but to be Frank, Baruch Spinoza, a Jewish-Dutch philosopher became known as one of the great rationalists of the seventeenth century, who if alive today, would no doubt be one hell of a bridge player, not to mention to also have become a medical marvel.

Happy Holidays to the Cubleys!