Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 13th, 2017

And trust me not at all or all in all.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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


If a partner you can normally trust does something seemingly strange in defense, it is worthwhile to pause and ask yourself why.

When West led the spade king against four hearts, East followed with the seven and declarer with the nine. Now West knew East’s seven was either a singleton or top of a doubleton – the start of an echo. After the spade ace held the second trick, the full spade position was clear.

At the next trick came the play that put East under the microscope, when West continued with the spade queen, apparently setting up dummy’s suit.

East could count on three tricks for the defense – the two already in the bag, plus the ace of trumps. It was possible, if unlikely, that West held the club ace – if South had held all the missing heart honors plus good diamonds, he would likely have bid in just the same way. But East felt that West would then have cashed the club ace at trick three, since the risk of declarer discarding his clubs on the spades would have been evident.

The only other plausible scenario was that West held jack-third or queen-doubleton in trumps. If that were so, East would need to utilize his trump ace right now. If he did not, declarer would cross to dummy and lead a heart, and East’s ace would beat empty air. So East ruffed his partner’s spade queen with the trump ace – and now West had a second trump winner to defeat the game.

I’m not sure a simple raise to three clubs will suffice here. Your partner came into a live auction, in a situation where you had implicitly denied values. He is likely to be 5-5 or have real extra values, and you should jump to four clubs to give your partner a chance to bid game.


♠ 7 2
 J 10 7 5 3
♣ J 9 7 4 2
South West North East
    1 Dbl.
Pass 1 ♠ 2 ♣ 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Iain ClimieApril 27th, 2017 at 9:15 pm

Hi Bobby,

On BWTA do you prefer a first round pass 9due to evidence of misfit) or 1NT to stop Wet bidding 1S? Needless to say, both could come seriusly unstuck.



Patrick CheuApril 27th, 2017 at 10:29 pm

Hi Iain and Bobby,I like to bid,so 1N would be my preference..and if West doubles,and pard passes,would redouble be for the minors(54 45 or 55) here? regards~Patrick.

bobby wolffApril 27th, 2017 at 10:59 pm

Hi Iain,

I do prefer a 1st round pass since I expect my LHO to bid spades (either one or two) anyway, and also I do not know which minor to bid and would prefer passing, then over spades by the opponent, bid at least 2NT or, if necessary perhaps even 3NT, next time to show my minors (must be unusual since I did not bid 1NT the lst time).

However the auction took a different turn and now jumping to 4 clubs seems about right.

bobby wolffApril 27th, 2017 at 11:06 pm

Hi Patrick,

No doubt SOS redoubles are very much a part of an experienced partnership’s repertoire, but after volunteering 1NT, getting doubled, I would say a redouble is only an attempt to make 7 tricks and score up the game bonus.

At least, that would be my interpretation, but, in truth, after all these years I do not remember that sequence ever occurring.