Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 9, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 NT Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening Lead:5

“If you do not understand a man, you cannot crush him. And if you do understand him, very probably you will not.”

— G.K. Chesterton

Playing a 15-17 no-trump and five-card majors, what would you open as South?


In the match between Iceland and Brazil at the 2006 World Championships, both Souths upgraded their hand, bristling as it is with healthy intermediates and a five-card suit. After they opened one no-trump, the bidding continued inexorably to game, both Norths rightly regarding their five-card suit as a useful source of tricks.


The Icelandic West led a club, South unblocking the queen under East’s ace, and East switched to a low heart, which ran to the jack. West continued by underleading his heart ace, and East’s queen was captured by the king. Declarer played on clubs, and after West ducked twice, switched to diamonds. When West showed out on the second diamond, South reverted to clubs. West won and, hoping to get East in for a heart through, led a spade, even though he knew declarer really had to hold the spade ace. As a result, declarer ended with 10 tricks.


The lead was the same at the other table, but at trick two, Brazil’s Diego Brenner, sitting East, knew that he was unlikely to be on lead again and so thoughtfully returned the heart queen to the king and ace. Marcelo Branco cashed his jack, then returned a third heart to the eight and 10. Branco’s established heart seven proved to be the setting trick when he came in with the club king.

ANSWER: Your partner may be slam-going or just looking for the right game. In the first instance, though, this auction is all about looking for a diamond stop for no-trump, and you have one. Yes, you have a minor suit you have not shown, but that is immaterial. Bid three no-trump now and await developments, if any.


South Holds:

K J 3 2
9 5
A 10
J 10 9 8 2


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