Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, December 15th, 2022


Iain ClimieDecember 29th, 2022 at 11:01 am

Hi Bobby,

It is a very neat play and worth knowing but how often do such opportunities occur, I wonder? Was the Belladonna BOLS tip based on an actual hand or a hypothetical one for example?



Steven ConradDecember 29th, 2022 at 12:50 pm

I went over to csbnews to read what Belladonna wrote, and I took special notice of the final sentence of his BOLS Bridge Tip. He wrote:


Sadly, this is not a true statement! Yes indeedy, the ace of trumps does not necessarily spell defeat for a grand slam in that trump suit. How can that be? That’s what I asked the director when, holding the ace of trump, someone was credited with 13 tricks in the suit grand slam.

I would think that this should cause a change in the laws. Revoke or not, one should never be permitted to make all 13 tricks when missing the ace of trumps.

We sure do not want to cause Belladonna’s tip’s final sentence to be wrong, now do we?

Iain ClimieDecember 29th, 2022 at 1:48 pm

Hi Steve,
If playing for money the answer is simple. The player who revokes should concede the Grand slam score whereas the lucky players making it should pay off his partner. Unenforceable but some degree of justice.


A V Ramana RaoDecember 29th, 2022 at 2:16 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
Notwithstanding the great Belladonna’s tip, perhaps west could have achieved the same result with a club shift. Fundamental assumption is south has three ( or more) diamonds and diamond ruff in dummy provides tenth trick and if so, south has only three cards in rounded suits : if he has singleton club, he cannot access dummy’s clubs . If he has doubleton with A, he wins club shift in hand but is on the horns of a dilemma. If he leads spade, west can duck ( ducking is much easy now) , win next and cashes diamonds and if he tries to run clubs, east would ruff. Seeing four clubs in west hand, club shift stands out but with fewer clubs, Belladonna must be honoured. Nevertheless an instructive hand visualising how the play would pan out and countering. Neat Thrust and parry.

A V Ramana RaoDecember 29th, 2022 at 2:35 pm

Sorry, there is an error. Kindly ignore

Bobby WolffDecember 29th, 2022 at 3:49 pm

Hi Iain,

Sorry to not know whether Georgio was revealing the truth, or the consequences of imagination and I need to wait (hopefully a longer than expected time) to ask him directly. If I had to say, my guess is more likely to be made up, since he was very famous, especially in Italy, for all his World Championship wins and thus called for, often to talk about the game we all love, although IMO of the guilt we all hate.

However, regardless of the above, he was certainly among the most talented players
ever to grace our game, at least he was also blessed with a sparkling personality.

Bobby WolffDecember 29th, 2022 at 4:00 pm

Hi Steve,

When you talk about 13, why not think about 14 or even 15 when revokes do their damage.

And all the fuss about my bid of 8 clubs as a good save over the opponents 7NT not so final bid, was well directed, though apparently not legal. All I can say, is WHY NOT?
since someone, John Wilks Booth by name, actually shot a man like Lincoln!

And, who knows, perhaps if my bid had been declared OK, those stubborn opponents
may have gone on to bid something other than double or pass.

Bobby WolffDecember 29th, 2022 at 4:16 pm


We can call your play “The Sword Coup”, but then you may be required to change your initials. Proving still again that doing something is more productive than doing nothing.

MirceaDecember 29th, 2022 at 10:37 pm

very instructive, thanks for sharing Bobby

I held a similar hand the other day and opened the same 4S in third seat. My partner put a near opener that fit very well with my hand so I took 12 tricks. Do you think this is too small a price to pay compared with the value of the preempt? I guess what I’m asking is if it’s worth preempting to the 4-level in 3rd seat with full openers

Bobby WolffDecember 29th, 2022 at 10:54 pm

Hi Mircea,

There is no wrong reason for your opening approximately the same type of hand 4 spades since your intention was to get there fast, keeping them from exchanging enough positive information to either make something themselves, take a winning sacrifice, or instead, on another day, drive your side one trick higher, which may become one down.

All the above is part of the very challenging game we all love to play and since cards are not transparent, what then happened, is just part of the game.

Jeff SDecember 29th, 2022 at 11:58 pm

Hi Bobby,

On Mircea’s question, it sounds like he did the right thing opening 4S following the advice to never count on your partner to have the perfect hand because he doesn’t. Partner already passed, you know where you are going so just go there.

If partner’s near-opener included a couple of key cards, could his partner take the lead and explore for a slam in that situation? Or is the 4S opener a stop sign?

Thank you,