Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

There is always inequity in life. Some men are killed in a war, and some men are wounded, and some men never leave the country. … Life is unfair.

John F. Kennedy

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


Bridge is often unfair, and while pairs often reveals that more than other modes of the game, today’s deal would have been painful for the defense and delicious for declarer under any form of scoring.

The auction went swimmingly for North-South until North’s final pass. He should have known that his combination of singleton diamond and bad hearts facing likely shortage meant he should bid four spades. Of course, had he done so, South would have gone one down quietly in his game for a below-average score.

As it was, West led the diamond 10 to trick one, and declarer was happy to grab a cheap trick in the form of the diamond queen. It then seemed logical to establish a spade trick without letting East in. So declarer laid down the spade king and advanced the spade 10, covered all around as West pitched a diamond.

The bad trump break wasn’t good news, but at least South could see what the fate of four spades would have been. He cashed three top clubs, pitching a spade from hand, and led a heart to his jack and West’s queen. West exited with the ace and another diamond, South won that, returned a diamond and took the last two heart tricks to make his game. Had West exited with a low heart instead of two rounds of diamonds, declarer would have cashed his heart winners and led a low diamond. Whichever defender won that trick would have had to give declarer a trick in his hand in diamonds or a spade in dummy.

I am torn here between bidding no-trump and raising clubs; if the latter, I wonder what level to raise to. The problem is that if North is short in hearts, we might make game in clubs (and would go down in three no-trump), but my partner will not know his cards are fitting. Still, a raise to three clubs is the value bid, and with no side-suit aces, part-score is likely to be the limit if partner holds a minimum.


♠ K 10 9 4
 10 6 4 3
♣ A Q 8 4
South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 2 ♣ 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact