Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
3 NT All Pass    

Opening Lead:2

“What each man does is based not on direct and certain knowledge, but on pictures made by himself or given to him.”

— Walter Lippmann

It is usually easier to defend against good bidders (you know what they really have, not what you think they have). Having said that, cover up the South and West cards and defend three no-trump from the East seat, after working out what you know about South’s hand.


With 12-14 points South would have rebid one no-trump over a suit response from North, and with 18-19 he would have bid two no-trump. So a rebid of three no-trump is generally made on a solid or near-solid six- or seven-card minor suit, plus some outside values. (This is in contrast to an opening pre-emptive bid of three no-trump, which is made with a solid seven-card minor suit with little or nothing else.)


At the table West led the spade two. Declarer played low from dummy, East won with the ace — and woodenly returned a second spade. Declarer rapidly wrapped up nine tricks.


East could count South for six or seven clubs tricks. Even had West underled the spade king, one spade trick plus two in diamonds (if the diamond finesse were needed, it would clearly work) gives South enough for game.


The position East should have envisaged was the one that existed, where the defenders’ best chance is to run the hearts. It can hardly cost to cash the heart ace. Now the heart three to partner’s queen and a heart back through dummy’s 10 nets the necessary five tricks to defeat the contract.

ANSWER: This hand is ideal for a jump to three hearts, an invitational bid. When your partner doubles in the sandwich seat, he will always deliver the unbid suits and a decent hand. In fact, jumping to four hearts is far from unreasonable here because of your fifth trump and apparently well-placed diamond honors.


South Holds:

Q J 3
10 8 7 4 2
A Q 7
4 3


South West North East
Pass 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