Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: None

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


South West North East
  2 Dbl. 2
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead: Jack

“Where there is much desire to learn, there of necessity will be much arguing, much writing, many opinions; for opinion in good men is but knowledge in the making.”

— John Milton

Today’s deal features a point of interest in the bidding as well as in the play. When the weak-two from West was doubled, East suspected that his opponents could make a considerable number of tricks in spades. In an attempt to tangle their wires, he tried a baby psyche, hoping to keep his opponents out of spades. (There is nothing inappropriate about such actions — so long as partner is not expecting them any more than your opponents.)


A good idea, perhaps, but South was not fooled. He opted for the simplest way to get to a spade slam, managing to right-side the contract into the bargain.


West was looking at an ace, so knew that a diamond lead was unlikely to succeed. Since South had inferentially promised a heart control, West shrewdly led a top club, giving declarer nothing. South took the club king and drew trumps in three rounds with his king, queen and jack, at which point he knew nine of West’s cards. When that player followed twice more to the top clubs, the contract had suddenly become almost a claim. West had three cards in each black suit and six hearts and thus no more than one diamond.


Declarer took dummy’s diamond king and, when no jack appeared, led a diamond back to his 10, cashed the diamond ace, then returned to dummy with the spade ace to pitch one of his heart losers on the diamond queen.

ANSWER: Although most partnerships will not discuss sequences of this sort until too late, the pass of a redouble by the hand sitting over the trumps can only sensibly be played for blood. Your partner was going to pass out two hearts doubled and will instead enjoy this denouement even more! Do not let West trick you out of collecting your penalty.


South Holds:

A 8 7 2
10 8
K Q 7 4
K Q 5


South West North East
  2 Pass Pass
Dbl. Rdbl. 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 2010. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


bruce karlsonJune 30th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Re: Bid with the Aces

West violated one rule by putting a second oar in the water and he would simply pass with confidence that the contract had a chance. Ergo, isn’t East under pressure to take the RDBL as S.O.S. and bid? The results are likely to be ugly but not as ugly as down 2 (3?) redoubled.


Bobby WolffJune 30th, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Hi Bruce,

This so called bridge problem is fraught with psychology.

Even among good players, the caveat mentioned here about North’s pass showing a heart stack (or a great defensive hand) is usually not on a priority to having been discussed. Ergo East’s pass may be a little like a person whistling as he walks by a cemetery at night, possibly hoping for a misunderstanding from his opponents rather than blow the cover, bid, and then have to scramble to try and lower the penalty damage.

Yes, at times we leave the bridge element and become Poker or “To Tell the Truth” players. “Aren’t we Devils?” the line from Ralph Edwards, famous show, “Truth or Consequences” reigns.