Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, April 11, 2009



Vul: None

K 10 9
10 9 8 3
K 10 2
A 7 5
West East
Q J 6 3 2 A 8
6 5 K 7 2
A 7 5 Q 9 6 4
J 4 3 10 9 8 2
7 5 4
A Q J 4
J 8 3
K Q 6


South West North East
Pass Pass
1 1 Dbl. Pass
2 Pass Pass 2
Pass Pass Dbl. Pass
3 All pass    

Opening Lead: Q

“Sunset and evening star, And one clear call for me!”

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson

In the round robin match between Denmark and Italy in the 1999 World Junior Teams, a textbook hand in suit-preference signaling came along, with the hand on lead making the suit-preference signal, rather than the hand following suit.

Morten Madsen of Denmark as East thought long and hard before pushing his opponents with his call of two spades, and rightly so. The defense had seven tricks against that contract, but when North doubled a second time just to show cards, South rather illogically decided against trying to take the penalty. With such a balanced hand he might well have trusted his partner, since the delayed spade raise sounded as if it was based on only two trumps.

The opening lead of the spade queen held the trick. Now Kaspar Konow (West) deliberately set up dummy’s spade 10 by leading a suit-preference jack at the second trick, since he could infer that his partner’s delayed support was based on holding the doubleton ace. Hence, he had to prepare the way for a spade ruff. Madsen (East) won his ace perforce and duly led a diamond (the higher of the minor suits) in to ensure he got his ruff. The diamond queen was the setting trick.

Notice that if East plays a club after winning his spade ace, declarer is able to draw trumps at once, and the defense loses their ruff.

Any junior interested in finding out more about bridge should go to

ANSWER: Do you want to bid one heart? If you play (as I recommend) that partner’s one diamond call DENIES a major (or if he has one, it will be in at least an invitational hand), then you should bid one no-trump now. You know either you do not have a heart fit,s or partner will introduce hearts next. A bid of one heart now would promise real clubs as well as four hearts.


South Holds:

7 5 4
A Q J 4
J 8 3
K Q 6


South West North East
1 Pass 1 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 2009. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact