Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, September 5th, 2019

God be thanked, the meanest of his creatures Boasts two soul-sides; one to face the world with, One to show a woman when he loves her!

Robert Browning

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


Eric Greco won player of the year for the ACBL by virtue of a series of outstanding finishes in the major events in 2018. I first registered Eric’s talent when he played for the U.S. Juniors over 20 years ago; here he is at work from the finals of the 1997 World Junior Team Championships. It was somewhat ironic that he found one of the best plays of the tournament here, to hold his losses on the deal to 5 IMPs.

In four spades on the opening lead of the heart 10, Greco rose with the king and ran the diamond 10. He won the heart return in dummy, and then passed the diamond nine after a lot of thought.

His plan was to set up the diamonds without letting East in. That would work if hearts were 5-2, but if hearts broke 4-3, there might easily be a trump promotion on the 13th heart.

All was well, since Greco had read the cards correctly, and West had no heart to lead when he took the second diamond. West exited with a club, and declarer ruffed, cashed the top spades and led the fourth diamond to pitch the heart loser to make the hand. Alas for USA, four spades doubled was let through in the other room when the first three tricks started the same way, but declarer then came to hand with a top spade to lead the diamond ace. West forgot to unblock his other top diamond on this trick, so East could not get in to cash the hearts, and the play transposed back to Greco’s line.

Clearly the hand is far too good to pass two hearts. Should you drive to four hearts or consult your partner by making an invitational raise? Here, the singleton in partner’s suit is more useful than usual because of the fifth trump. At teams, I could understand driving to game, but at pairs, a simple raise looks right to protect the plus score.


♠ 8
 Q 8 7 5 2
 J 7 6
♣ A 8 6 5
South West North East
    1 ♠ Pass
1 NT Pass 2 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