Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, August 7th, 2014

The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.

Marcus Aurelius

South North
Neither ♠ A 8 6 3
 10 9 5 3
 A 9 3
♣ A 8
West East
♠ K Q J 10 4
 Q 10 7
♣ Q 10 7 4
♠ 9 5 2
 J 8 2
 J 5 4 2
♣ J 5 2
♠ 7
 A K Q 6 4
 K 8 6
♣ K 9 6 3
South West North East
1 1♠ 2♠ Pass
3♠ Pass 5 Pass
6 All pass    


A loser-on-loser play was the way home for declarer on this well-bid small slam.

After North had cue-bid to show a limit raise or better, South’s three-spade call was an unequivocal slam-try with short spades. North appreciated that his spade length and three aces were going to be very useful to his partner. His jump to five hearts asked for good trumps, and South was happy to accept the invitation.

The spade king was West’s opening salvo. Declarer inspected dummy and appreciated that if trumps broke 2-2, there would be no further problems, as two clubs could be ruffed in dummy. The only loser would be the third round of diamonds.

After winning the first trick with the spade ace, South drew two rounds of trump and was disappointed to find West showing out on the second. The club ace and king stood up, then a third club was safely ruffed in dummy. The diamond ace, then a diamond to the king placed South back in hand to play the last club.

If West had shown out, the club could safely have been ruffed in dummy; then a spade ruff to hand would have allowed East’s last trump to be extracted. But when West produced the club queen, rather than ruff and be overruffed, South discarded dummy’s last diamond, exchanging one loser for another.

Ruffing the spade return, declarer trumped the last diamond, returned to hand with a spade ruff, and drew the last trump at trick 13.

With the expected number of hearts and more defense than might be expected in terms of aces, you should not consider bidding on just because you have fewer diamonds than your partner might expect. Simply pass and do your best to go plus.


♠ A 8 6 3
 10 9 5 3
 A 9 3
♣ A 8
South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 3 Pass 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


RyanAugust 21st, 2014 at 2:52 pm


In BWTA, I might have considered bidding 1S over 1H, and then 2H over partner’s 1NT or 2C, or LHO’s 2D. Would this be showing anything different than this holding (aside from maybe having just three hearts)? Would it imply stronger spades perhaps?


bobby wolffAugust 21st, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Hi Ryan,

Your subject is concerned with correct bidding technique, where when a major suit (and usually minors as well, but not quite 100%) is not immediately supported or instead a forcing (which turns out to be) artificial jump in another suit occurs, the suit not raised CANNOT have 4 card support.

The above is an important caveat to remember, and then when your experience kicks in, you will realize how important that rule becomes.

You are suggesting what could be called (and often is) picture bidding wherein you intend to click off your distribution. While your intent is noble, a more important caveat demands that his major suit is immediately supported and then other aspects of your hand, only if partner is interested, both negative and positive, will then be shown.

The quality of the spade suit has nothing to do with the above: with s. AKQJ, h. xxxx, d. Kxxx, c. x the opener’s rebid must be 2 hearts.

TedAugust 21st, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Hi Bobby,

Playing Lebensohl and 11-14HCP NT on the following sequence:

1NT 2S 3D

should 3D be invitational, a one-round force (to 4D), or game forcing?

Thank you,


bobby wolffAugust 21st, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Hi Ted,

I’ll give you a qualified answer. 3D, in your sequence given and playing Lebernsohl, is forcing to at least 4D.

However, I am not a great fan of Lebensohl and prefer to guess what to do, not to, as your question suggests, whether a bid is forcing or not, but rather to play 2NT is just competitive and after partner opens an 11-14 NT, 2NT can be bid with a good 10 to a bad 13 HCP’s making a non-jump bid in another suit, just competitive, with a jump bid forcing to game with 5+ cards and an all inclusive strong bid of a cue bid in the opponent’s suit(s) also GF with, of course, a priority of naming a 4 card major. For what it is worth I also prefer card showing doubles instead of the old fashioned penalty variety.

Nothing personal, just business.

The guessing only has to do with choosing a bid which has the greater chance of success, considering the game being played (IMPs, MP or rubber), your partner and your opponents.

To give up the natural meaning of the (my guess) most frequent bid of all, 2NT (except perhaps pass) is, at least to me, not close to being right.

Although I respect some very good players who disagree with me, I feel strong enough about my view that I sometimes wonder if royalties are given to players who use some of these popular conventions.