Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 14th, 2019

If a state should pass laws forbidding its citizens to become wise and holy, it would be made a byword for all time. But this, in effect, is what our commercial, social, and political systems do. They compel the sacrifice of mental and moral power to money and dissipation.

John Spalding

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


Today’s hand comes from the finals of the 1999 U.S. trials and shows Peter Weichsel in action, making a thoughtful assumption in the trump suit.

The final contract at both tables was two hearts by South, East and West having passed throughout.

At the first table, West led the club 10. East took the king and ace and played a third club, won in dummy with the queen. Declarer then led a heart to the jack, which looks to be the normal play. However, West won with the ace, cashed the spade ace, then played a fourth round of clubs, which East ruffed with the queen. This promoted an extra trump for the defense; they could now take three trump tricks in addition to their three black-suit winners, which spelled one down for declarer.

At the second table, the defenders cashed all three of their black-suit winners before playing a third club. On winning in dummy, Weichsel came to the conclusion that, after East had produced 7 points in clubs, he would not have both the heart ace and queen as well, because then he might have entered the auction. Weichsel realized how the fourth round of clubs could lead to the demise of his contract, so he continued on the assumption that East held the heart nine or 10 (or both).

Declarer called for the heart eight from dummy, and when East played low, he let it ride. West won with the 10, but now a club return could no longer lead to a trump promotion. Contract made.

It seems normal to lead partner’s suit, but this may be our only time on lead, so we should aim to do some damage with it. Only one diamond winner is likely to stand up here, given our length. So, our best bet may be to lead a top heart through dummy’s hypothetical tenace. One or two quick tricks in the suit may be all we need, and if we do not take them now, they may go away on dummy’s clubs.


♠ J 5
 Q J 7 6
 8 6 3 2
♣ J 5 3
South West North East
Pass 1 ♣ 1 1 ♠
2 3 ♣ 3 4 ♠
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


A.V.Ramana RaoOctober 28th, 2019 at 5:05 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
wrt Quote: However, there would be some persons who will uphold their value system , ethics and moral values and become icons
And , perhaps since North described his hand adequately, South could have passed One NT bid which should have resulted in better score as considering the vulnerability, EW may not venture to bid over One NT.

bobbywolffOctober 28th, 2019 at 7:03 pm


No doubt you are expressing the correct handling of this common situational rebid.

However, many rebidders do not support partner with only three of them, and to them I disagree.

Of course, a 4-3-3-3 distribution is an exception, but yes, South should probably have passed, but, in this case, didn’t.

Thanks for your opinion and I am happy to agree with you.