Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

First come I; my name is Jowett. There’s no knowledge but I know it.
I am master of this college: What I don’t know isn’t knowledge.

Revd. H. C. Beeching

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


In “Master Play in Contract Bridge,” Terence Reese shows this intriguing deal played by world champion Karl Schneider of Austria in an early European Championship game.

Both tables played four spades. After a club lead, the British declarer drew four rounds of trumps, then successfully finessed the diamond queen for a heart discard.

But at the other table, on the auction shown, West led the diamond three. Declarer guessed to win the diamond ace, then played a spade to the nine, putting West on play before he had had a chance to observe his partner’s discards. West laid down the heart ace, but could not read his partner’s heart four, so switched to a club, hoping that his partner had the ace. When East correctly played low, South won cheaply and ran his four top trumps. Then he cashed the club ace and played the last spade.

In the three-card ending, dummy had the bare heart queen and the K-9 of clubs, while South had the bare club queen and two hearts in hand. East had to pitch a heart to keep his club guard, so South cashed the club queen, exited with a heart and won the last trick with dummy’s club king.

West’s defense would have been right if South had held the heart king and something like Q-J-x in clubs. But would South then have ducked the first trump? West’s heart holding should have told him that declarer’s strategy of ducking an early trump must have been based on hoping to discard hearts on clubs, not clubs on hearts.

You have a straightforward call of one no-trump, suggesting a few scattered values (you would otherwise pass), but fewer than 7 or 8 points. If you had that much, you would take stronger action, with either a jump or a cue-bid. You aren’t stacked in clubs, but one stopper is enough for this call.


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