Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, January 20th, 2017

No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.

Mary Wollstonecraft

E North
N-S ♠ 9 8 3
 A 8 7 6 3
♣ A 9 8 6
West East
♠ 6 5
 J 9
 10 9 8 7 4 3
♣ Q 5 3
♠ A Q J 10
 Q 10 5 4
 Q J 2
♣ 7 4
♠ K 7 4 2
 K 2
 A 6 5
♣ K J 10 2
South West North East
      1 ♣
Pass 1 * Pass 1
Dbl. 2 2 Pass
2 ♠ Pass 3 ♣ Pass
3 Pass 3 Pass
3 NT All pass    

*Artificial negative


In the 1998 Cap Gemini, Tony Forrester and Zia Mahmood went into a huge lead early on. But it had been whittled away, when this board appeared in the final match.

When the second-placed pair reached three no-trump, West led the heart jack in response to his partner’s opening bid. Declarer won with the king and misguessed the clubs. Back came the heart nine, ducked all round, and that was followed by a diamond to the king. Now the defense was ahead in the race to establish their long suit, and declarer had only eight tricks.

Here, though, the opening bid was a nebulous club, and the one diamond response an artificial negative, after which everything was natural. Krzysztof Martens led the diamond 10 to the king, East unblocking the queen.

Tony Forrester naturally cashed the club ace and led to his jack. He ducked the diamond continuation, throwing a heart from dummy, to leave East on play.

Now Marek Szymanowski made the natural play of switching to the spade queen, and Forrester won his king. He cashed the diamond ace, discarding another heart, and took his winning clubs. This reduced everyone down to five cards. Szymanowski had to keep three hearts, so just two spades. Forrester could now lead a spade, win the heart return with the ace and play a spade, to win the last two tricks.

Had East shifted to a heart at trick six, the results of the top two pairs would have been reversed.

Responder at his second turn typically has ways to invite game and to drive to game in opener’s suit – but nothing in between. With this hand you either have to raise clubs invitationally or use fourth suit forcing and force to game. I go for the invitational raise to three clubs, conscious that this is a slight underbid.


♠ 9 8 3
 A 8 7 6 3
♣ A 9 8 6
South West North East
  Pass 1 Pass
1 Pass 2 ♣ 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact