Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, December 7th, 2019

Apple pie without cheese Is like a kiss without a squeeze.


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


In today’s pairs deal, as North-South had at least 34 points, North did not look for a suit contract. Instead, he was relying on power to make a slam in no-trump when one in a suit might be scuppered by bad breaks. With even a slightly weaker hand, or with the spades and diamonds switched, one could make a good case for bidding Stayman, then offering a choice of slams with a call of five no-trump, prepared to play diamonds, spades or no-trump.

On a power auction, a spade lead looked unattractive: Indeed, it would have given declarer his 12th trick here. West sensibly led a passive heart 10, aiming to give nothing away. Declarer could place the heart queen to his right, so he called for dummy’s heart king. He then played the spade ace and another spade. When East threw a low heart, declarer still put in the spade jack from hand, giving up the loser to facilitate a subsequent squeeze.

West won and exited with a heart, taken by dummy’s ace. Declarer cashed the spade king, then ran diamonds, ending in dummy. In the four-card ending, as West had only discarded one spade and East had not parted with the heart queen, neither defender could hold four clubs. So declarer’s lowly club seven was sure to score the last trick. Declarer made two spades, two hearts, four diamonds and, finally, four clubs to make his contract.

In effect, declarer played to squeeze both hands out of their club guard, even though he knew only one of them could have the suit under control.

You cannot pass the buck here; a pass by you would be for penalties here. Most partnerships play that pass is neutral at the one-level, an attempt to play for penalties in all other positions. If you agree, you must bid. With right-hand opponent having shown values, a call of two no-trump by you should be a scramble, looking for partner to bid his better minor. If he bids diamonds, you will correct to hearts.


♠ 9
 Q 7 5 3
 8 7 3
♣ J 9 8 4 2
South West North East
  2 ♠ Dbl. Rdbl.

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 21st, 2019 at 10:08 am

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Declarer played very well. It is difficult to spot the surefire winning line. An alternate line would be ( perhaps what Mrs Guggenheim would have played and still succeeded as the cards lay) would be to play K of spades when East shows out and lead four rounds of diamonds. In the six card position ( after two spades, one hear and four diamonds ) east is compelled to discard the fifth club to retain hear guard but now he can be thrown in with fourth club for two heart tricks. But the line taken by declarer is superior as it would cater to West holding heart Q apart from actual layout just in case he led heart ten from Q ten and nine as he would be squeezed without count in the majors on the third club and no deception would be possible

A V Ramana RaoDecember 21st, 2019 at 11:04 am

I just observed that my mobile’s Autocorrect wrongly corrected heart to hear not once but twice. Great going

Bobby WolffDecember 21st, 2019 at 11:06 am


Thanks for the 99+% analysis of today’s hand.

It, of course, was thoroughly described, right on point and almost nothing overlooked. The only question to what you wrote was the positive comment about Mrs.Guggenheim, who, and likely to be corroborated, even today in a seance. (with Skippy Simon, not her) would be the success she would have in scoring up 12 tricks. IMHO when neither the spades behaved, the heart finesse worked, nor was the jack of clubs singleton, that lovable lady would likely have conceded and might have claimed down two instead of just one, no doubt complaining about her always terrible luck, especially when so many tricks had been contracted for. However, yes she likely would have taken 4 diamond tricks, but possibly only because she also possessed the nine.

However, without real characters like her, always to be found in all places bridge being played (if we can call it that) somehow there would be a felt loss, especially among the many “palooka killers” running loose in the overall worldwide bridge scene.

However no black mark will be charged to you, since you were only theoretically giving credit to a random fictional character to whom you did not want to appear overly critical.

In any event, thanks for your accurate summation, carefully describing the practicality of all roads (well, almost, at least the ones who watch and remember the cards played) leading to success.

Again, thanks for your keen effort.