Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: E/W

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


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

Opening Lead:K

“Only the actions of the just

Smell sweet, and blossom in their dust.”

— James Shirley

In the Yeh Cup last year, this was the last deal of the semifinals between two undefeated teams. Many Wests would open one club, North would double, and South would respond one diamond. North would now bid one spade and play there quietly — no need for drama.


Ah, but what if West opens a Precision one diamond? What does South do after North doubles? He fearfully bids one heart, trying to stop at a low level. That was what the American South did, but his partner produced an unrefined jump to three hearts. Now declarer could never reach his hand to take a heart finesse. Eventually the defenders scored their four plain tricks and could lead the 13th club to promote the heart nine. Down one — but not necessarily a tragedy.


In the other room, West also opened one diamond, Precision, and North doubled. East passed, playing a style where this showed nothing about his hand at all, and Peter Fredin produced the sort of call that makes him such good reporting material. He passed one diamond, knowing that West would almost never sit for it even with moderate diamond length. It worked like a charm. West thought he was walking into a bad split, so escaped to one spade, and when doubled, he ran to two clubs, doubled and down 800. Even on best declarer play in one diamond, West would surely have gone down a trick, so Fredin’s pass would have won points for his side whatever happened next.

ANSWER: With a hand this strong, you cannot afford to pass out one heart. Game your way in spades needs next to nothing from your partner. Start by doubling, planning to introduce spades next to show a strong hand and letting your partner take it from there. Your shortage in diamonds should not bother you — spades outrank diamonds!


South Holds:

A Q 10 8 7
A K J 2
A 5 3


South West North East
  1 Pass 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