Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, August 8th, 2015

Logic and sermons never convince.

Walt Whitman

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


Good sense dictates how this minor suit game should be handled. It also helps to remember as declarer that if only you need to take 11 tricks, you can afford to lose two.

To reach five diamonds, North judged well in the auction. South would no doubt have been expecting more from him in the way of honor points for his initial response, but North could see that as South was almost certainly marked with a singleton or void club by his rebid of three no-trump, the club suit was unlikely to be easy to develop in a no-trump contract.

West led a diamond, since nothing else looked attractive, and South took stock. The most realistic chance for 11 tricks is to set up dummy’s clubs; so with this in mind, declarer cashed the trump king and queen, then led a club to the ace.

The ensuing club ruff passed off peacefully. Next came the heart ace for a spade discard from dummy, followed by a diamond to the ace, extracting the last defensive trump in the process. Declarer then simply gave up a club. All that was now left for the defense was one spade trick, there being a trump left in dummy as access to the set-up clubs.

Declarer had planned the play with care from trick one, appreciating that two tricks could be lost. If declarer had ruffed two clubs in the South hand, the timing goes awry. Trump control is lost, and with that, the established club winners.

You have a good hand, one that has been improved by the opponents bidding your short suit. Try two diamonds now, planning to compete in spades at your next turn. If you play support doubles to show three-card support you can do that, but you should plan to bid past the two-level at your next turn by introducing your diamonds.


♠ K 10 4
 A Q 10 4 3
 K Q 8 4
♣ 7
South West North East
1 Pass 1 ♠ 2 ♣

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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Yasser HaiderAugust 22nd, 2015 at 9:30 am

Hi Bobby
In BWTA how do you rate double by S over 2C as opposed to 2D? Thanks in advance

David WarheitAugust 22nd, 2015 at 10:40 am

Another line also works: DKQ, HA, duck a C. Opponents cash SA and force dummy to ruff something. Ruff a C, D to A & dummy is good. I believe that both lines require C to be 3-2, the only difference being that the suggested line makes 6 if someone has KQ doubleton of C, an improvement of about 10% assuming C 3-2. So what do you think of my inferior line?

Iain ClimieAugust 22nd, 2015 at 11:31 am

Hi David, Bobby,

I wonder about playing the CA then ducking a club (or leading the CJ if (say) the C10 or Q appears from West) as it may be possible to cope with some 4-1 club breaks too. There again, there is a danger of waliking into a trump promotion in some cases, so maybe declarer should assume C3-2. Playing CA then ruffing a club will pick up doubleton KQ anyway, though, and now declarer can safely head for the overtrick.



bobby wolffAugust 22nd, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Hi Yasser,

Since double (not necessarily support) may be used to show ambivalence, but a better than expected hand, it should not be the choice, when another, clearer one, is in the cards.

Here, 2 diamonds begins to show one’s distribution, completed next round when spades are supported. Change a small spade to the King of clubs and then a TO double appears proper.

Of course, some good partnerships might play a double behind the club bidder as penalties, and that treatment needs to be discussed before the tournament.

Yes, there is work to do before a hopeful partnership can rise quietly in scope, but IMO it is well worth the effort, if for no other reason, than results.

bobby wolffAugust 22nd, 2015 at 3:08 pm

Hi David,

I think the ace & one club, ruffed from dummy will be a quicker route to making 12 tricks since, after disposing of one spade in dummy on the heart ace will leave only one spade to lose. However to throw a spade away and then intentionally now lose a club will give the defense an opportunity to cash a the spade. However perhaps playing the jack of clubs from dummy the first time may enable a make (West holding the KQ63 and not splitting).

So when one looks under a rock and then decides to play uniquely (though not without good reason), no telling what he may find.

Thanks always for your innovation.

bobby wolffAugust 22nd, 2015 at 3:12 pm

Hi Iain,

Your post merely reminds me of a discipline I should, (but too often do not) read all the posts before I start to answer the first.

Your letter merely beats me to the punch with my answer to David. Thanks for being ever sharp and more important, caring enough for bridge to be heard.