Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 28th, 2019

Most of us seldom take the trouble to think. It is a troublesome and fatiguing process and often leads to uncomfortable conclusions. But crises and deadlocks when they occur have at least this advantage, that they force us to think.

Jawaharlal Nehru

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


Barry Rigal reported this deal from Hawaii. With just one deal to go in the board-a-match qualifying event, you need a win on the final board to reach average and earn a spot on the roster for the final. Can you do it?

Your teammates have collected 500 from four spades doubled, so if you do better, you are in. If the same, you face a tie-break. And if worse, you get to play the 10 a.m. pairs game – a fate worse than death.

West leads the heart king and shifts to a MUD diamond seven. Naturally, East cashes two diamonds then disappointedly reverts to hearts. You get to ruff, but then what?

After cashing the diamond king to pitch your heart, it seems natural to take the spade ace and continue with the jack. But if you do, East wins, forces you twice when in with the top trump, and collects 500.

Your best chance here may be to give up on any miracle in spades. East probably has both honors, anyway. Instead, after cashing the diamond king, exit with the spade jack!

If East wins and leads a red winner, you can survive. You ruff in dummy and cross to the club queen. Having saved a tempo, you can drive out the remaining top trump while retaining control, for minus 300.

East’s best defense was to win the spade queen and exit in clubs. Now you are locked in dummy and must concede the ruff and the master trump. This works whether you cash the diamond king before playing the spade jack or not.

Did you get a good night’s sleep?

Whenever your side is doubled for penalty, a redouble is for rescue. You must run, and your options are three clubs, three diamonds and two no-trump to suggest no preference. I prefer the last of these, although I can also imagine bidding two spades and redoubling to get partner to pick a minor.


♠ 2
 K Q 10 8 5 2
 8 7 2
♣ 7 6 5
South West North East
      1 ♣
2 Pass Pass Dbl.
Pass Pass Rdbl. 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 RaoDecember 12th, 2019 at 4:43 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Perhaps South should ruff the heart return with J and advance six of spades. Now ninety percent of the east players might win and return another heart and south escapes for 300 and a deep sleep later

bobbywolffDecember 12th, 2019 at 5:43 pm


Perhaps Henry Higgins of “My Fair Lady” fame would exclaim, after reading your solution” “By George he’s got it, he has really got it”

Reference: “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain” offered by Eliza Doolittle

A V Ramana RaoDecember 12th, 2019 at 5:57 pm

And it says ” Hurricanes hardly happen” but in the Bridge World Hurricanes do frequently happen

bobbywolffDecember 12th, 2019 at 10:47 pm


Making one thing much more often happening, even hurricanes, rather than so-called English commoners, speaking without a Cockney accent.