Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, June 21st, 2019

A jury consists of 12 persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.

Robert Frost

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


Lawyer Chuck Burger is one of the least-known bridge stars of America. He played for 20 years in most major tournaments with Jimmy Cayne. But here, Burger was playing in the quarterfinals of the Grand National Teams with Allan Falk, who was conveniently placed to record the events at their table.

South reached four spades after showing a weak hand with six spades at his first turn, and Falk led a diamond to the four and Burger’s queen. Things looked bleak for the defense, with trumps behaving and clubs well-placed, but Burger found the unpleasant switch to a low heart at trick two, which went to the 10 and queen. So at least Burger had put himself in a position to get two more heart tricks if he could get his partner on lead. Declarer next played the spade king from dummy, and Burger began his campaign of deception when he unblocked the queen.

Now declarer crossed to hand by playing the diamond ace and ruffing a diamond. When he laid down the spade ace, Burger dropped the jack! Now declarer knew he needed trumps to be 3-3. He played for what he thought was his best chance, that of finding Burger with the spade 10, by playing a third trump. Falk took this with his 10 and played a second heart, for one down.

Of course, declarer could have succeeded in the ending by playing on clubs. But he naturally assumed that this was less likely than Burger’s ingenious defense. He will know better next time.

In this sequence, double shows extras, while two no-trump would be natural and about 19-20 or so. A double seems reasonable, but I’m not sure I want my partner to pick hearts, so I would bid three clubs. However, if I could be sure that my partner would respond two no-trump to a double here (meaning it as two places to play if in doubt), then double would be my choice.


♠ K
 K Q 9
 A J 8 4
♣ A K J 8 3
South West North East
      1 ♠
Dbl. 2 ♠ Pass 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