Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, June 19, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: N/S

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


South West North East
    1 Dbl.
1 1 3 Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead:7

“I was a modest, good-humored boy. It is Oxford that has made me insufferable.”

— Max Beerbohm

The site for the smaller world championships has recently tended to be outside Europe and America, because the logistics of organizing such events devolves naturally to the countries with a smaller member base.


The last World Junior Teams Championships in the United States took place in Florida in 1999, and the European contingent, as usual, came to the fore. Three of the four European teams made it through to the semifinals, where Italy beat Israel and USA2 beat Denmark. In the finals Italy won comfortably, demonstrating that they and Poland are the major forces in European bridge now and in the near future.


Even the one European team that failed to qualify, Norway, had its moments, missing out by just one qualifying place. The following board against Brazil showed Boye Brogeland (now a seasoned international) at his best. In the other room his teammates had sacrificed with the East-West cards in four spades doubled, for minus 100. But Brogeland (South) played four hearts after East had doubled one club.


On the diamond-seven lead to the queen and king and a diamond back, Brogeland led a heart to the queen, then played a heart to the ace and a heart back. He won the diamond 10 with his jack, and when West discarded, Boye saw that East’s hand-pattern was likely to be 4-3-5-1. So he cashed the club king and finessed the club seven at the next trick. Contract made, and a big swing to Norway.

ANSWER: Did you jump to three no-trump? That is the natural thing to do, but if you think about it a little more, the way to show this hand precisely is to bid two no-trump. After all, with 15-17 you would have opened one no-trump, so if you jump in no-trump, it shows 18-19. What is a jump to three no-trump?It shows a long solid or semisolid club suit and a heart stopper.


South Holds:

K 7 2
A 7 5 3
A J 7 2


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


Doug GinsbergJuly 3rd, 2009 at 5:02 pm

South West North East

1♣ 1♥ Dbl. Pass

In current expert practice what is the meaning of North’s negative double of 1 heart? Does it imply an inability to bid 1 spade, or that North’s diamonds are better than his spades?

Bobby WolffJuly 3rd, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Hi Doug,

Neither. In the majority of reasonably high-level North American partnerships perhaps 90% play a negative dbl. would show exactly 4 spades and hopefully 4 or 5 diamonds, but not necessarily. The minimum point count should be at least 6HCP’s but possibly a hand such as QJxx, x, Qxxxxx, xx might fit the bill. Another example would be: QJxx, Kx, xxx, Axxx with the common denominators, exactly 4 spades (with 5 the responder would either bid 1 spade or possibly 2 diamonds if he had longer diamonds than his 5 spades), and, of course, enough values to ward off the bogey man.

In some minority views, partnerships play that a negative double denies 4 or more spades, therefore responding 1 spade with 4+ and then using the double to offer other choices such as between the minors or possibly NT if the opener has hearts stopped: Ax, xxx, KJxx, K10xx.

So many have their own thoughts and therefore invent their own brews. My own view on this subject is that all theories are about equal, so do what you feel like doing, but be on the same wave length as one’s partner.