Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, May 4th, 2019

The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork.

James Joyce

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

*Checkback Stayman


Tim Bourke, one of my Australian bridge-playing friends, has a splendid eye for a good deal. He is also an outstanding player who has only been kept from representing Australia because of ill health. But his wife, Margi, has been a regular on the Australian team over the last few decades.

Bourke played this one recently against a computer, finding the way to overcome an extremely unpleasant break. He declared six hearts on the lead of the club king to the ace. A low heart to dummy brought forth the bad news. But he put up the heart queen and correctly decided he needed East to have started with precisely a 3=5=3=2 or 4=5=3=1 shape. He next led the heart three from dummy to the nine and king. Having forced a high heart spot out of East, he cashed dummy’s top diamonds, pitching clubs, then led the heart eight, covered by the 10 and king.

In the six-card ending, there was only one way home. He crossed to a top spade in dummy to ruff a club to hand, then took the spade queen and went back to the spade king. East had been forced to follow to every trick thus far and was down to the J-5 of hearts, while South had only the trump seven left.

However, for the final two tricks, he could lead a minor from dummy and score his heart seven either at this trick or the next. This play, when you score a trick by leading a plain card and over-ruffing your opponent, is called a coup en passant.

Without the overcall, you would have bid two no-trump, of course. As it is, you cannot bid two no-trump now, but if you play support doubles to show three spades, that would be ideal. Without that gadget, I would jump to three spades, since a cue-bid should be a game force and the hand is not worth that.


♠ A K 3
 Q 8 3
 A K Q 8
♣ 10 6 5
South West North East
1 Pass 1 ♠ 2 ♣

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