Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, January 3rd, 2020

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.

Albert Einstein

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


There are some plays that only experts would consider, and some that they would make only against another expert. Consider this example, from a U.S. Nationals at New Orleans.

Brian Glubok as West eschewed the opening lead of a top club, realizing he would never be able to give his partner a club ruff. East, Michael Radin, was implicitly marked with some club length, since he had neither made a negative double nor responded one no-trump. So he tried a low diamond. Peter Nagy, as declarer, cashed the top diamonds and played a low heart from dummy to Glubok’s jack.

Glubok deviously played a low club now — and Nagy called for dummy’s queen! Now declarer could ruff a heart to hand and take a spade finesse for his contract. Had he guessed incorrectly, the defenders would have cashed three clubs and set the hand. So why did he follow this line?

Declarer knew that Radin had raised to two diamonds on minimal values and four-card support, so Glubok had a minimum balanced hand. Since Glubok might have led a heart from an original ace-king-jack combination, Radin appeared to have one top heart, in which case, West had the rest of the deck.

More important, if Glubok had an ace-jack or king-jack combination in clubs, he would have shifted to the jack, protecting against his partner having the club ace, with or without the club 10. With those holdings and the queen in dummy, the play of the jack would virtually never cost a trick.

Open one no-trump. You are just short of the values needed to upgrade your hand out of the strong no-trump range. The five-card suit is a positive feature, but there are too many high cards in the short suits, which will not be pulling their full weight. A no-trump opener gets the strength and shape of the hand across in one go; give me the doubleton diamond king with the ace in hearts, and I might feel differently.


♠ A Q 6
 Q 10 9 7 5
 A K
♣ Q 6 4
South West North East

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 2020. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact