Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, December 18th, 2019

The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.

Bertrand Russell

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

*Two or more diamonds


Had West started by opening one club rather than a Precision diamond, his opponents probably would have been unable to locate clubs. They would have played three no-trump and would surely have gone down.

As it was, South could bid a natural and forcing two clubs over North’s one-spade overcall. When he caught a raise, he gambled on five clubs, since his clubs seemed too slow to set up in three no-trump.

Declarer won West’s lead of the heart queen in hand and saw drawings trump could wait; he instead had to work on shedding his second diamond loser on a spade. He cashed the spade king and ruffed a heart to dummy. The spade ace and a spade ruff followed.

If declarer had then crossed to the club ace before ruffing both hearts, he would have risked conceding an unwelcome over-ruff on the fourth spade. West would then have been able to draw dummy’s last trump, leaving declarer an entry (and thus a trick) short.

Instead, South ruffed the heart king back to table, and when he took his second spade ruff, it did not matter which defender had the long spades. It was East who had the 13th spade, so West was in a position to over-ruff on the fourth round of clubs and attack diamonds, but declarer remained in control. South was able to reach dummy with the club ace and pitch his last diamond on the spade nine, losing just two trump tricks in total.

Rebid two clubs. The singleton spade king is no longer such a negative feature, but a no-trump rebid seems wrong, and your clubs are too poor to rebid at the three-level. Some players might open or rebid one no-trump here, but the danger of getting too high in spades or not high enough in no-trump is obvious. If the spade king were a club, you might make a jump rebid in clubs.


♠ K
 A K 7
 A 5 3
♣ J 10 6 5 3 2
South West North East
1 ♣ Pass 1 ♠ 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 RaoJanuary 1st, 2020 at 10:45 am

Hi Dear Mr.Wolff
Wishing You and Judy
” A Very Happy New Year 2020″

bobbywolffJanuary 1st, 2020 at 4:22 pm


Many thanks for the well wishes and be assured Judy and I return the same to you and yours.

It somehow appears inevitable that this troubled world will always find ways to be discontent about various kinds of unfairness, but instead, like the unusual solution to today’s declarer hand (trumping a high card for a well timed entry to the contract trick), there needs to be found an equitable solution, other than violence, a way to get it done.

“Bridge for Peace” the motto of the World Bridge Federation must properly not only handle eliminating all collusive cheating from its ranks, but assuring all high-level competitive countries and their players, that this albatross is indeed history, for without that assurance to all players, we will never realize the enormous potential of our beloved game. That includes life’s logic, partnership cooperation, the magnificence of numeracy with problem solving, as well as the blessing of being able to majestically and continuosly use one’s brain.

Methinks, in order to do so, we need to have draconian penalties for non-compliance to which all nations and their bridge representatives must solidly agree to cooperate, with nary a doubt as to that need.

For this site and all other world bridge enterprises everywhere, is my fervent wish for this brand New Year!

Furthermore, continued congratulations for those progressive countries (now, many) who have seen the wisdom in teaching bridge in their primary and secondary educational school system.

They have set a positive world standard in encouraging young students to vitally realize, the positive use of one’s mind, together with doing so in a combative competition, but non-violent pleasurable way.

A V Ramana RaoJanuary 1st, 2020 at 4:50 pm

Thanks and very well said but I fail to understand why people cheat . As Sir Conan Doyle mentions ” the work is its own reward” . Similarly ” the game itself is its own reward “. Why people stoop low cheating just to win? Just play the game trying to work out the myriads of combinations which will sail you through , triumphing if right and concede gracefully if the judgment goes awry

Bob LiptonJanuary 1st, 2020 at 5:24 pm



bobbywolffJanuary 1st, 2020 at 6:12 pm

Hi again AVRR & Bob,

IMO, you are both as right as anyone can be.

The desire to cheat especially in worldwide big time bridge, probably started out (way back in the 1950’s) as a way to only steal ego, while ingratiating oneself as seemingly more intelligent than one is, but also much other admiration which always seems to lionize winners.

However, since then, indeed Bob is right on, with the development of professional bridge, sponsors pay to win, and other less talented players think (correctly) that for them to have any chance to succeed, they need to do any and everything they can (obvious illegality not a reason to desist) to have a chance to get it done.

Even before that when there were money prizes (originating in Europe) but then gravitating to the USA and a few other places, money to win, played a part, but that was corrected in Europe by calling a halt to those tournaments, when it became ridiculously obvious what was going on to all who were the least bit interested.

Is there much a difference in recruiting athletes (usually by educational institutions) by illegally paying them values which, at the very least, could be considered worthwhile to both the one or educational institution which pays and the payee. Again violating moral codes of fairness to all involved when money just doesn’t in any way, because of the relationships, belong.

However, all of the above is merely a discussion of how and why evil is condoned by those who are either morally corrupt or merely others who consider such behavior as just business as usual.