Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 18th, 2019

Properly speaking, there is no such thing as revenge. Revenge is an act which you want to commit when you are powerless and because you are powerless: As soon as the sense of impotence is removed, the desire evaporates also.

George Orwell

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



In today’s deal, South was playing rubber bridge against an opponent to his left who had managed to get his back up on more than one occasion. So when the chance came up to needle him in return, he could not resist the opportunity.

South had opened a strong no-trump and jumped to three hearts over North’s transfer. This showed a reasonable hand with four hearts, and North naturally raised to game.

West’s lead of the club queen went to declarer’s ace. Declarer cashed the trump ace, played a trump to the king, and played a spade. East took his ace and returned a third trump (a diamond would have been no better).

Declarer won, cashed the spade queen, then played a club to hand and ruffed a spade. With trumps drawn and the black suits eliminated, declarer put his hand on the table and asked his opponent if he wanted him to state a line. When West aggressively asked him how he planned to cope with a bad diamond break, South had his answer ready.

“I’m sure you can see I have 10 tricks against any 3-2 diamond break, but a 4-1 break will also prove no problem. I will play a low diamond and follow small from my hand. If the suit is 4-1, then either the player with the singleton will win and give me a ruff-sluff. Or, alternatively, if the player with the four-card suit wins, the best he can do is return the suit, and I will run that lead around to an honor and play back the suit, holding my diamond losers to two.”

Your choice is between a low club and a trump; underleading either of your aces seems like a wild gamble. While a club lead could be effective, it is far more aggressive than the spade lead. Given West’s pre-emptive raise, usually based on five-card support or a good four-card holding, the trump is unlikely to solve a guess declarer would have gotten wrong.


♠ 4
 A Q 10 7 3 2
 A 6 3
♣ K 10 2
South West North East
      1 ♠
2 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