Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.

Eldridge Cleaver

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


When South opens one notrump, North can see that his side’s combined count is not enough to think seriously about a slam. He might have come to a different conclusion without his values in the short suits, but as it is, he should be satisfied to settle for the no-trump game.

After the initial spade lead, the fact that South has a doubleton spade in each hand means he can only count on winning two spades and four clubs. Hence, he needs to develop three tricks in the red suits.

The diamonds should provide the necessary tricks, unless East has four or more diamonds headed by the A-10. There is no danger if West has such a diamond holding, since South will eventually be able to finesse in the suit, using dummy’s diamond nine.

To guard against all the dangerous diamond breaks — except the bare ace with West — South must lead diamonds from the dummy. East ducks, since playing the ace would permit South to preserve his king and jack. South wins the first diamond with the king and can then return to dummy to lead another diamond.

Once again, (as the cards lie) East must play low, and South wins with the jack. West’s discard reveals the bad break, and South now knows that he cannot develop the diamonds in time to make the contract.

However, he can now switch his attention to hearts, and by leading that suit, he will come to his ninth trick — just in time.

You could persuade me that it was right to rebid one no-trump, which limits the hand and protects the heart king, and yet…my strong belief is that 5-4-2-2 pattern is more suitable for a trump contract than for notrump. This club suit is too good to ignore, and we might easily belong in clubs (or diamonds) but be unable to get there after a one no-trump rebid here.


♠ K 4
 K 6
 Q 9 5 3 2
♣ K Q 10 6
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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


jim2May 11th, 2016 at 11:54 am

So, let’s suppose in BWTA that you DO get persuaded and bid 1N, and partner bids 2C.

Would that be “new minor forcing”? If so, might this be the exception hand one passes anyway?

bobby wolffMay 11th, 2016 at 3:29 pm

QHi Jim2,

Yes, particularly at matchpoints I may be persuaded to rebid 1NT.

No, never, since partner may even be void in clubs thus perhaps holding s. AQxxx, h. AQxx, d. AKxx c. void.

However this hand happened either on Father’s Day or your BD since while playing B-A-M the opponents at the other table arrived at 7 diamonds and caught a 4-0 trump break for down 1 while partner had no trouble making exactly 2 clubs for a win.

After all these years TOCM TM took a one day vacation and repented.

After that result your partnership then switched to 2 way check back Stayman wherein of course partner would rebid 2 diamonds GF instead, so if you then passed you would take 4 more tricks in case your teammates were only minus 150.

Proving your partnership is always searching for default contracts with winning in mind.