Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: None

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


South West North East
    Pass 1
1 2 3 3
4 4 4 Pass
Pass Dbl. All Pass  

Opening Lead:Q

“We are bare. We are stripped to the bone and we swim in tandem and go up and up the river.”

— Anne Sexton

Today’s deal shows a useful if rather underutilized concept of modern bidding: any time that you pass initially or fail to bid a suit at a cheap level as an overcaller, then when partner acts, a subsequent re-entry by you into the auction will normally be based on fit for partner and be lead-directing. So North’s three-club bid showed good clubs and a spade fit, enabling North-South to find what they hoped would be a cheap sacrifice over four hearts.


Did I say cheap? South ruffed the heart lead, cashed the spade ace, then visited dummy with the club ace to ruff a second heart. A club to the king saw a third heart ruff; a spade came next.


In with the king, West was endplayed, forced either to lead a diamond or to give declarer a ruff and discard. All South lost was a trick each in spades, clubs and diamonds.


Notice that if declarer takes a club finesse at any point in the hand or fails to strip off the hearts before throwing West in with his trump trick, then the defense can prevail. Even given declarer’s accurate play, could the defense have done any better against four spades? Yes, though it is hard to blame West for his lead. But an initial black-suit lead would have left declarer one dummy entry short for his endplay, since he could not arrange to strip off the hearts before putting an opponent on play.

ANSWER: Your partner’s redouble as a passed hand shows a maximum pass, but not necessarily a heart fit. You have extra shape, but an unremarkable hand in high cards. Still, there is no reason to be ashamed of your hand; simply bid two diamonds, making the reasonable assumption that partner can probably fit one red suit or the other.


South Holds:

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


South West North East
    Pass 1
1 Dbl. Rbl. 1


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