Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

Let him go let him tarry let him sink or let him swim
He doesn’t care for me and I don’t care for him.
He can go and find another that I hope he will enjoy
For I am going to marry a far nicer boy.

Traditional Irish song

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

*Puppet to three clubs


The Tarrytown regional tournament this February threw up an interesting defensive problem here. There were several points of interest in the bidding, the first of which was East’s two-no-trump call, sometimes referred to as “Good-Bad Two No-Trump.” In this system, East has two ways to rebid clubs. A direct call of three clubs would promise extras (akin to a jump to three clubs over a one-heart response). This sequence was purely competitive in clubs — not an underbid!

When South reached four spades, West did well to lead a trump rather than making the knee-jerk play of leading the club ace. Since his side had plenty of high cards, the opponents’ auction was surely based on side-suit shortages somewhere, and West saw there was very likely to be a need to ruff either a club or a heart in dummy.

This lead should have been the killer. However, when declarer won in hand and led a diamond to the 10, king and ace, East shifted to a heart. Declarer set about his cross-ruff and emerged with 10 tricks.

East made a pardonable mistake, but he took his eye off the ball at trick three. He knew for certain that West didn’t have a singleton club — he surely would have led it. And if West didn’t have an ace, the defense had no chance. By playing a club, East would allow his partner to play a second trump if he had either the club ace or the heart ace. Shifting to a heart put all his eggs in a (broken) basket.

Don’t even think about acting. With only four-card trump support (which you have already almost guaranteed), a dead minimum in high cards and a great potential lead against two spades, you should pass and wait for your partner to bid any more if he has a suitable hand.


♠ J 10 8
 K 7 4 3 2
♣ Q 7 6 3
South West North East
    1 1 ♠
Dbl. Pass 2 ♣ 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