Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, December 10th, 2018

Information can tell us everything. It has all the answers. But they are answers to questions we have not asked, and which doubtless don’t even arise.

Jean Baudrillard

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


When West’s opening bid of one diamond is passed around to South, he should reopen the bidding with a double, planning to bid spades over a one-heart response. North has just enough to raise one spade to two, persuading South to bid game.

When West leads the diamond king, South sees he will lose two diamonds and must therefore hold his trump losers to one.

If there had been no bidding, South would plan to enter dummy with a club or a heart in order to lead a trump for a finesse of the queen at some point. Here, however, the finesse will surely lose since West is likely to have the spade king with that opening bid.

After trumping the third diamond, on which East shows up with the queen, South can definitely mark West with the spade king. If East had 5 points in high cards, his partner would not have been able to open the bidding.

So South leads the spade ace, planning to lead a low spade if no honor appears, in the hopes that West was dealt the singleton or doubleton spade king. Luck is with South, since West follows with the spade king on the first round of trumps.

Now the focus shifts to picking up the trump jack-10. The simplest way forward is to unblock the top hearts and lead a low spade to the eight and 10.

South easily regains the lead and crosses to the club ace to pitch his fourth club on the heart queen. Then he draws East’s remaining trumps with the aid of the marked finesse.

When dealt a three-card sequence like we see in these hearts, my first impulse is to lead it, even when I have another bid and supported suit. It isn’t so much that I expect to set up additional winners; it’s more that a heart seems safe, and my partner will never play me for a suit like this unless I lead it right off the bat.


♠ Q 9 4
 Q J 10 5
 J 8 2
♣ K 7 4
South West North East
Pass 1 ♣ 1 1 ♠
2 2 ♠ 3 3 ♠
All 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


Bill CubleyDecember 24th, 2018 at 2:22 pm

Bobby, These days it is easier to pick up the stiff king when they open 1NT. Lots play the weaker range NT bids.

Happy Holidays to the Wolves!

Ken MooreDecember 24th, 2018 at 2:56 pm


Some of us still play 1 NT at 15-18 points. Old ways are hard to change.

May the blessings of the Christmas promise be on all.

Bobby WolffDecember 24th, 2018 at 4:20 pm

Hi Bill & Ken,

Yes, perhaps the most innovative and progressive lessons in bridge are the negative inferences from the dogs who do not bark.

To make matters even wider spread and more valuable the same might be said in general, of life itself and specifically, business negotiations and to be sure, romance.

Finally and no doubt, the holiday season reminds us of family, friends, the rapture of giving, and likely most necessary, the blessings of peace, tranquility and love.

Happiness is the goal and although playing bridge is often both challenging and sometimes frustrating, it keeps us competitive, inquisitive and alert.

At least to me, our entire group represents the above and most of all, the sum of all our people, at least to me, stands out the highlight of an international group who like and above all, in this sometimes very troubled world, genuinely respect each other.

tax return tips for studentsDecember 29th, 2018 at 5:03 am

Westwood College has stopped accepting new students.