Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


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

Opening Lead: King

“O nightingale! Thou surely art

A creature of a ‘fiery heart.’”

— William Wordsworth

All the deals this week come from the European Open in San Remo, held in June last year. The tournament is open to everyone and consists of open, single-sex, and mixed pairs and teams.


In today’s deal, from the Mixed Pairs Final, Migry Campanile and Peter Fredin missed out on the big prize, but Migry came through with a couple of elegant plays in the following deal.


Two spades was going to be a perfectly playable spot, but how do you rate South’s chances in three diamonds? Not so bad on a heart lead, since declarer has eight tricks painlessly enough, and even one down was going to be a respectable score for North-South. The point is that 110 for West in spades or for East in clubs was a relatively common result.


However, Fredin led the club king and Campanile overtook, resisting the temptation to keep playing on clubs. Instead, she shifted to a top spade. (She had promised three or more spades in the auction by passing two spades, so the spade nine was unambiguous.) Fredin won cheaply and returned the club 10. Declarer ducked to encourage a misdefense, but Campanile overtook yet again and played a second spade, letting Fredin cash two spades. Now he could play the 13th spade, ruffed by Campanile with the diamond jack, and that promoted the diamond queen to an additional trump trick for two down.

ANSWER: This sequence is emphatically not for penalties. You cannot convert a takeout double into a penalty double so easily. The sequence suggests three hearts and real extra values — maybe a minimum of 16 points. Since you are top of your range with great hearts, accept the implicit game invitation by bidding four hearts.


South Holds:

10 6 5
A K J 10 6
7 5
J 8 4


South West North East
  1 Dbl. 1
2 3 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 2010. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact