Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

W North
None ♠ J 10 8 5 3
 Q J
 9 3
♣ Q 7 4 2
West East
♠ Q 4
 10 9 8 7 5 4 3
♣ A 10 8
♠ —
 6 2
 K J 8 7 6 5 4 2
♣ J 9 3
♠ A K 9 7 6 2
 A K
 Q 10
♣ K 6 5
South West North East
  1 Pass 4
4 ♠ All pass    


It is never a good idea to criticize your opponents’ methods to their faces; behind their backs is another matter. If you make the mistake of commenting unfavorably, then you slip up in the play, they won’t forgive and forget — as today’s deal shows.

South asked about the four-diamond call and feigned disbelief that it was natural rather than a heart raise. But he bid four spades anyway, against which West cashed his singleton diamond ace before switching to a heart.

Declarer won, drew trumps in two rounds, cashed his other top heart and led a low club toward the dummy. The bidding had marked West with the club ace, and declarer had planned to continue the attack on clubs if West followed low. In that case, declarer would have taken the queen and would then have covered East’s jack or ducked the nine on the next round. Then he would have set up the 13th club for the discard he needed.

But West saw the danger and cunningly put in the 10 on the first round of clubs. Now, whatever South tried, East was bound to gain the lead with a club and cash the diamond king for down one. Then West added salt to the wound by pointing out the winning line on the deal. Can you spot it?

Declarer must eliminate hearts and throw West in with his spade queen! (If West unblocks that card, declarer can endplay him with the trump four if he is careful.) Then West must lead clubs or yield a ruff-sluff, and the trick comes back with interest.

You may not have a great hand, but you already denied any real values when you bid only three spades at your first turn. That said, do you trust your partner enough to play him for the slam-try he has already shown? If you do, then I think you must bid more than four spades now. Inventing a four-heart cue-bid or jumping to five spades might be best now.


♠ J 10 8 5 3
 Q J
 9 3
♣ Q 7 4 2
South West North East
  3 Dbl. Pass
3 ♠ Pass 4 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


A.V.Ramana RaoMay 16th, 2019 at 4:32 pm

Hi Dear Mr. Wolff
Normally people would be happy to see high cards in their hands. But south( ie a victorious south) must have been delighted to see deuce of spades in hand and three of spades in dummy in this hand without which the contract cannot be made
PS : And perhaps another south who planned the play very well, was asleep when he sluffed diamond from hand instead of a club west returned a heart and the hand blew up in his face

bobbywolffMay 16th, 2019 at 7:17 pm


When card combinations match up with numerate genius, bridge can become an unrecognizable game to many.

Such is only one of the byproducts to which our magnificent game can explore.

Fully realizing that one can actually play bridge for a lifetime and never even know that the above exists.

Not many other competitions, if any, can challenge these anomalies, which promise mind development. Why then hasn’t our game been installed as at least an elective subject in the USA overall school curriculum?

Perhaps our home office, encouraged by its BOD, should extend every effort to make it happen.

Thanks AVRR for, with your right-on analysis, thus recognizing its originality, be in the decision making chain, allowing our game to both entertain but also and so very important, teach youngsters how to excel, by teaching them problem solving.