Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, March 1st, 2018

Like Dead-Sea fruits, that tempt the eye,
But turn to ashes on the lips!

Thomas Moore

S North
None ♠ K 10 8 3
 K J 8
 A 7 6
♣ K J 6
West East
♠ J 9 6 5
 9 7 6 4 3 2
 K Q J
♣ —
♠ —
 A Q 10 5
 8 5 3 2
♣ 9 7 4 3 2
♠ A Q 7 4 2
 10 9 4
♣ A Q 10 8 5
South West North East
1 ♠ Pass 2 NT* Pass
4 ♣ Pass 4 Pass
4 Pass 4 NT Pass
5 ♠** Pass 6 ♠ All pass

*Forcing spade raise

**Two key-cards and the trump queen


In today’s deal, South’s four-club call shows a decent five-card suit. Thereafter, cue-bidding sees North use Key-card Blackwood and drive to slam. West leads the diamond king; after winning with the diamond ace and seeing East follow, how do you plan to make another 11 tricks for the contract?

If spades break no worse than 3-1, you can draw trumps and run the clubs, discarding diamonds from dummy. If trumps are 2-2, you will make an overtrick by ruffing two diamonds in dummy. By contrast, if East has four trumps, the contract looks almost impossible to make.

However, when it is West who has four trumps, you need to be very careful. In that scenario, with the cards as shown, the only way to make the contract is to ruff a heart at trick two. Not until then can you play the trump ace.

When East discards, you continue with a low trump and cover West’s card in dummy. After ruffing a second heart with the queen, you will lead the trump seven and again cover West’s card. After drawing the last trump and throwing a diamond from hand, you will have taken the first seven tricks. At this point, the clubs will provide the five tricks you need to make the contract.

Note that if you played a trump to the ace at trick two, the contract fails because dummy is an entry short for the two heart ruffs you need as the cards lie.

There is no universal agreement about what doubles of this sort mean, but here your hand tells you that your partner has a good hand with spades. After all, who else has the spades? You should pass and lead from your five-card suit. You may not beat one no-trump, but there is no reason to assume you have a better hole to go to.


♠ —
 A Q 10 5
 8 5 3 2
♣ 9 7 4 3 2
South West North East
  1 ♠ Pass 1 NT
Pass Pass Dbl. 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Iain ClimieMarch 15th, 2018 at 12:20 pm

HI Bobby,

Today’s BWTA reminds me of a bidding / lead problem I saw many years ago. You hold xxxx None xxxx 10xxxx at favourable vulnerability and RHO opens 1D, you pass, LHO bids 1H, RHO bids 1NT (15-16), LHO bids 3N and partner doubles which RHO then promptly redoubles. The double demands a heart lead.

The damage limitation action is now to bid 4H (!!) as partner has something like SAx HKQJ108x Jxx Jx



A V Ramana RaoMarch 15th, 2018 at 12:43 pm

Hi Dear Mr. Wolff
Very very instructive dummy reversal which takes care of club void with west

bobbywolffMarch 15th, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Hi Iain,

Brilliant indeed, but this time, after being exposed and catching TOCM from your partner Jim2, your partner held, s. Ax, h. H QJ10987, d. void. c.Axxxx and and after being doubled, with diamond forces you were held to 6 tricks, down 4, -800, while in clubs, and after a diamond lead and with, of course, split heart honors your side could have made 12 tricks in 4 clubs doubled for +760 or down 1 redoubled in 3NT for +400.

Oh well, one just cannot be right every time when competing against both dame fortune and very worthy opponents at the same time.

bobbywolffMarch 15th, 2018 at 3:09 pm


That 2nd trick ruff of dummies heart is only just
excellent declarer technique, which often makes no difference at all, but sometimes rings the bell loudly for success.

Is bridge a beautiful game or what?

Thanks for noticing.

A V Ramana RaoMarch 15th, 2018 at 3:54 pm

Yes. The heart ruff at second trick is what makes the difference between grain and chaff. One deal like this can earn a bagfull of IMPs and can swing the match if the declarer is not cautious at second trick.
And Of course Bridge is a truly beautiful and wonderful game

bobbywolffMarch 15th, 2018 at 3:58 pm

Hi everyone,

Today’s theme suggests that a 4th seat player after a one level bid of any of the lower three ranking suits by LHO and a one level response by RHO lower than 1NT, then a bid of 2 in the same suit as RHO is natural (of course both long and somewhat solid) rather than conventional (such as a two suit TO), and will allow what today’s discussion on the BWTA could have included.

In order to decide the above, a partnership gives up very little, while at the same time, and usually with more safety allows showing one’s hand at a low enough level to both describe (and get the lead one wants) and, at the same time, take fewer dangerous chances later with sometimes tricky, close and therefore perilous, penalty doubles.

How about doubling after LHO 1C, P, 1S, P 1NT, P, 3NT, to you when holding, s. AKx, h. xx, d. xxxx, c. KQJ10, then doubling to keep partner from giving away trick #9 to declarer on a red suit opening lead or just to generally create a better chance of a profitable result with a spade lead?

bobbywolffMarch 15th, 2018 at 4:04 pm

Hi again everyone,

When I speak of today’s theme, I should have said an offshoot of today’s BWTA theme. Sorry for the possible confusion.

Fred WelshMarch 15th, 2018 at 4:21 pm

Hello Bobby,

Just a quick note …. I lived at the Village Apts 1970’s at the same time you did and I had he pleasure to meet you then.

I have read your article in the Dallas Morning News forever and again today. Also your name came up a week ago.

I am still friends with Bob Joplin, who Managed the Village then, and we were having dinner and your name came up.

Two things, first great Aces On Bridge all these years Hands Clapping.png and second hope life is good for you.

Kind regards,

Fred Welsh
Cell 214-679-2085

bobbywolffMarch 15th, 2018 at 5:24 pm

Hi Fred,

It is great to hear from you and yes, life has been good to me and also to my wife, Judy. Especially for all the trusted real friends I have been very lucky to meet in the bridge world.

Hearing from you and the respect and joy the column brings you on a regular basis, is indeed very heartwarming.

My fervent hope is that someone (hopefully the ACBL itself) sees fit to go full steam ahead trying to secure bridge in our primary and secondary school system. Without which, it will be very difficult for us to keep up with Europe and China who now have been teaching it regularly and with rave notices from the students, teachers and even the parents of the students, for some time now.

In any event good luck to you and much thanks for tuning into our site. Don’t be a stranger.

Iain ClimieMarch 15th, 2018 at 11:38 pm

Hi Bobby,

Love the counter example!


jim2March 16th, 2018 at 1:35 am

It’s a terrible disease 🙁

agen pokerqqMarch 20th, 2018 at 3:17 am

Ԛսality articles or reviewѕ іs thee main to invite thee viewers to
pay a quick ѵisit the site, that’s what tһis weƅ page
is proviԀing.