Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, June 24th, 2019

Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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


This week’s deals all come from last year’s European qualifying event in Ostend, Belgium, for the World Championship this coming September.

Today’s deal is from the match between two of the favorites, Monaco and Netherlands. One table went low, one high. Where the Dutch played in three diamonds, Geir Helgemo cashed the club ace, then switched to the heart queen. Declarer Tim Verbeek won and played the ace and another diamond. Helgemo took his king and returned a club to the queen and king, so Verbeek drew trump then led the heart 10 to his king, took a heart pitch on the club jack, and ruffed a heart. There was a heart to lose at the end, so he had a quiet plus 130.

Where the stakes were higher, at our featured table, Bauke Muller started with the heart queen against three no-trump. Declarer Krzysztof Martens won with the ace and played two rounds of diamonds, Muller winning the king.

East, Simon De Wijs, showed out on the second diamond, discarding a discouraging club 10. Having seen a discouraging heart card at trick one and now knowing that declarer had good clubs, Muller tried the only suit left to him, finding the killing play of the spade jack.

That left Martens with no winning option. After some thought, he called for the queen, losing to the king. De Wijs returned the spade 10, and the defense established two more winners in the suit. Martens could play off his red-suit winners but could no longer make his game.

There is no particular reason to assume the cards are lying well for the opponents. I would lead from the diamond sequence rather than a broken four-card suit, with my second choice a heart rather than a club, since dummy won’t have heart length.


♠ 10 6
 J 9 4 2
 10 9 5
♣ K 8 7 3
South West North East
  1 ♠ Pass 1 NT
Pass 2 ♠ Pass 2 NT
Pass 3 NT 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact