Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, March 28, 2009



Vul: N/S

K 7
5 3 2
K 9 7 3
K Q 7 3
West East
Q 10 8 3 2 A 9 4
8 7 4 Q J 10
J 5 Q 10 2
6 5 4 J 10 9 8
J 6 5
A K 9 6
A 8 6 4
A 2
South West North East
Pass Pass
1NT Pass 3NT All Pass

Opening Lead: 3

“In every parting there is an image of death.”

— George Eliot

Today’s deal includes a point of declarer-play technique at no-trump that comes up more often than you might think.

Let’s see what might happen at a typical table in three no-trump on the lead of the spade three. Declarer must play low from dummy to ensure he can collect at least one spade trick. (If he wastes dummy’s king, he is down at once.) East inserts the spade nine, so declarer wins the jack and tries to set up a diamond winner. Alas, the defenders get in and cash four spade tricks for down one.

At the end of trick one, South has eight tricks, but cannot afford to lose a trick in a red suit, or the defenders will take their four spade winners. Of course, spades may be 4-4, but then declarer can set up a diamond trick later.

At trick two, South should play back a spade, hoping that if the defenders take their spades, a squeeze will develop. (It is almost guaranteed that neither defender started with more than five spades.)

Now watch what happens: East takes his spade ace and is likely to play back a spade. (Shifting to the heart queen is better, but declarer would win and play a third spade himself.) Now if West cashes the rest of his spades, East is squeezed to a pulp. If West does not cash his fourth and fifth spades, declarer can get his ninth trick by conceding a diamond trick to East (the safe hand).

ANSWER: In the modern style, your two-heart bid showed a limit-raise or better in clubs. A jump to three clubs would have been pre-emptive, not limit. Your partner’s call suggests spades and clubs, but not necessarily any extras. Since you have no more than you promised for your first call, simply bid three clubs and await developments — if any.


South Holds:

K 7
5 3 2
K 9 7 3
K Q 7 3
South West North East
1 1
2 Pass 2 Pass

If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, feel free to leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2009.


DanielApril 11th, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Mr. Wolff, I have a bidding question which has different answers from many “experts”, hoping you will help me and the “experts” to understand this bidding with explaination.

North opened 1D, the bidding went on like the following;

1D-x-xx-1H, p-p-x! is this x means penalty or neg.? why?

Thanks so much for your time.

Bobby WolffApril 12th, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Hi Daniel,

If you were North, your partner’s second bid, which was double, is for penalties and asks you, if your hand is at all suitable to pass and defend 1 heart doubled, to do so. Perhaps the opponent’s have emulated your name and walked into the lion’s den and you and your partner can now welcome them for lunch.

An example of a hand which is barely qualified for passing one’s partner’s double is: A87, J4, AQ102, Q765,

while K876, 4, AQ102, QJ65 should be taken out to 1 Spade.