Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 14th, 2019

‘Tis hard if all is false that I advance, A fool must now and then be right by chance.

William Cowper

S North
None ♠ K 9 7 6 3
 K 7 5 2
 4 3
♣ K 10
West East
♠ 4 2
 A 4
 Q J 10 2
♣ 8 7 6 4 2
♠ 10
 Q J 6 3
 A 9 7 6 5
♣ A 5 3
♠ A Q J 8 5
 10 9 8
 K 8
♣ Q J 9
South West North East
1 ♠ Pass 4 ♠ All pass


West was asleep at the wheel on today’s deal, in which South landed in four spades after his partner’s pre-emptive raise. It is unusual to make such a bid with three kings, but North felt he had to drive to game and had no other way to do so without overstating his high cards.

The lead of the diamond queen went to the ace, and East, unwilling to open up the hearts, returned a diamond. Declarer could see that he would need to resort to a swindle. He won and, since a heart would give the defenders too many chances to play that suit, immediately led a deceptive club jack to the king and East’s ace. Back came another club to South’s queen, and now declarer advanced the heart 10.

After West played small, not wanting to save South a guess if he had the jack-10, declarer went up with the king. He then drew trumps in two rounds, cashed the club nine and put West in with the heart ace to generate the critical ruff-and-discard.

Declarer had done well to play a heart to put West to the test at a moment when he did not yet know much about the hand, but West should not have fallen for it. He needed his partner to have the heart queen, but when there is a decision between making a legitimate play and one that requires an incorrect guess on an opponent’s part, one should opt for the legitimate line. Had West acknowledged this, he would have gone up with the heart ace, escaping the endplay and ensuring a second heart trick for the defense.

Your hand should fit your partner’s well, with all of your high cards in his long suits. You cannot afford to pass — you must make sure the opponents stay out and see whether your side can make game. The only question is how much to bid. With an extra queen, you would bid the “impossible” two spades to show a value raise to three diamonds. As it is, a direct raise to three diamonds suffices.


♠ 4 2
 A 4
 Q J 10 2
♣ 8 7 6 4 2
South West North East
Pass Pass 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


Bill CubleyNovember 28th, 2019 at 3:00 pm

Bobby, Happy Thanksgiving to you and Judy.

I see a good quote about my game but where is the evidence? A certain slam hand goes well with the quote.

Bobby WolffNovember 28th, 2019 at 8:28 pm

Hi Bill,

And, of course, happy Turkey Day to you and yours.

Let’s together give thanks to our sensational game we love to play and sincerely hope that it overcomes all the ugliness of the present and shifts into fluid drive, continuing to steadily improve in both substance and purity.