Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 28, 2009

Dealer: East

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 2 NT 3 All Pass

Opening Lead:K

“Equal opportunity means everyone will have a fair chance at becoming incompetent.”

— Laurence J. Peter

To commemorate the Bermuda Bowl now being held in Sao Paulo, today’s deal comes from last year’s World Championships.


Results for this deal from the quarter-finals were all over the place. One East bought the hand in two clubs (don’t ask!); one West drove to five clubs down 200; one West was doubled in four clubs, also for minus 200.


One North-South pair played four spades, down two; but the most interesting popular contract was three spades, a Goldilocks contract — not too low, not too high, just right! Where I was watching, the Italian World Champions were defending. West led three rounds of clubs, ruffed and overruffed. That neutralized East’s potential trump trick. Declarer could arrange to ruff hearts low in hand and diamonds high in dummy, making nine tricks.


In another room the Chinese West also overcalled two no-trump and balanced with a double of three spades, which his partner passed as a gamble. After three rounds of clubs, ruffed and overruffed, declarer played the side-suits, ruffing diamonds high and spades low for plus 530.


In England vs. Romania, both Wests led three rounds of clubs against three spades, and both Easts ruffed in and were overruffed. In each case declarer handled the trump spots sensibly to bring home nine tricks.


In retrospect it is a little surprising that none of the Easts noticed they had a sure-fire way to set three spades. Discarding a diamond on the third club allows them to collect their ruff.

ANSWER: In this auction your partner’s call of two hearts is not natural. It suggests a good hand in context and asks you to describe your hand more fully. You have extra high-cards so bid two no-trump, but you need much better intermediates to do any more.


South Holds:

K Q 8 5 2
J 7
K Q 9 6
Q 2


South West North East
1 Pass 1 NT Pass
2 Pass 2 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

1 Comment

Steven BlankSeptember 18th, 2009 at 4:07 am

Is N’s 1NT bid forcing? Don’t most play that as a relatively weak bid? Couldn’t S pass that bid? Or is any bid by an unpassed hand forcing in that auction?