Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Confidence is a plant of slow growth in an aged bosom;
youth is the season of credulity.

William Pitt the Elder

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


South does not have quite enough to invite game with a jump to two spades, but when North raises, showing significant extra values, South can go on to four spades.

If you just looked at the North and South cards here, you would think that four spades ought to present no problems. However, let’s look at the auction, before giving in to premature euphoria. West has opened one heart and when he leads the king, his partner follows with the 10. Using regular signals, that suggests East possesses at most a doubleton. Accordingly, when the defenders play three rounds of hearts declarer is in grave danger of running into an over-ruff. And it will not be sufficient simply to ruff high on this trick. That is merely the start of the delicate path declarer must tread.

At trick three South must ruff high in dummy with the spade queen. After that he needs to play West for the doubleton spade ace. So he leads a club to the queen, followed by a spade up.

In this position what is West to do? One possibility is for him to play the ace of spades and play a fourth heart – a defense that would be successful if East began with the doubleton spade jack, though not today. But it does West no better to duck. If he does, the spade king scores, after which declarer must duck a trump. When the spade ace pops up, the defenders can no longer promote a trump trick for themselves.

As a passed hand, your options are to redouble to show a maximum pass, then bid diamonds at your next turn, or to raise diamonds directly by an artificial call of two no-trump (a convention often referred to as Jordan). This shows a limit raise, and seems appropriate on values. Were my spades and diamonds switched I might simply respond one spade, or else start with the redouble.


♠ J 6 5 3
 10 5 2
 A Q J 7
♣ Q 4
South West North East
Pass Pass 1 Dbl.

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