Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 24th, 2018

“Self-trust is the essence of heroism.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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


After opening a slightly offbeat weak two-bid, you find yourself in four spades doubled after a top heart lead. (If East had passed four spades, West might have doubled, after which East might or might not have bid five hearts.)

East encourages at the first trick, and West continues with a top heart rather than playing for a diamond ruff. What now?

At the table, declarer ruffed the heart, then elected to draw trumps, not play on diamonds. After two trumps ending in hand he led a diamond to the 10, jack and king, then got back in via another heart ruff to lead a diamond toward dummy. He had just enough entries now to bring in the diamonds. Contract made; but whose play was less than perfect after trick two was completed?

Both East and South missed the chance to be heroes at trick five. Watch what happens if declarer leads a diamond to the jack, and East ducks!

Declarer can duck a diamond or play on clubs, but the defenders keep leading hearts; declarer cannot set up either minor now.

Declarer had two resources. The first was the unlikely one of pitching a diamond at trick two. More straightforwardly, he could ruff the heart at trick two, draw trumps and lead a diamond, ducking West’s 10!

South will be able to win the heart or club return in hand and lead a diamond. He can then regain the lead to eventually to take an eventual ruffing finesse against East’s diamond honor, to bring home the bacon.

Your partner’s opening bid guarantees at least four cards, unless he has both majors (which he clearly doesn’t here). You cannot by any means guarantee that three diamonds will make, or even come close, but it feels wrong to sell out when you have at least an eight-card fit, and the opponents also have a fit. So I would bid three diamonds now.


♠ J 9
 Q 7 6 3
 K 9 8 3
♣ Q J 8
South West North East
  Pass 1 Dbl.
1 2 ♠ Pass 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


Pete SagerSeptember 7th, 2018 at 11:38 pm

Hi Bobby,
I’ve got two questions;
1) Playing Drury what would be the meaning of:
P P 1M P 3M
Would it be preemptive eg QJxx, x, Kxxxx, xxx or something else.
2) I’m looking for a quote of yours that I read in a bridge book by another writer. I can’t remember what specific area of bridge this quote referenced. Are your best quotes listed somewhere online?

bobbywolffSeptember 8th, 2018 at 11:10 am

Hi Pete,

While playing 2-way Drury (at that, 3 card, 2 clubs, and 4+ card, 2 diamonds, as well).

Yes 3 of that major instead would tend to be a distributional limit raise, your example or greater (KQxxx, x, Jxxxx, xx) not wanting to go 1 down at game, if only 9 tricks are available, but still trying to prevent LHO a convenient back-in over our 2 diamond passed hand Drury response.

However with holding only a 3 card major suit support with partner (and therefore more hcps), LHO is not as likely to have a hand strong enough to compete after passing). Obviously then when only playing one Drury (2C) the jump to 3 of the major would always show 4+ support and fewer hcps.

I do not have a specific list of the many thousand quotes I have used in the last large number of years. However you may be able to go into the archives available on this site (I think) in order to cover some fairly large number of them.

It is also possible, (if the above try doesn’t work by not being that inclusive) if you ask for someone who has downloaded the AOB column through the years to help you find them, it is possible you could get lucky.

Good luck and apologize that I cannot be of greater service, but I do not keep my own past copies of used columns (just too much paperwork).

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