Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: All

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


South West North East
3 4 4 NT Pass
5 NT Pass 7 All Pass

Opening Lead: 2

“She took (the quilt) out of the chest, unfolded it, and counted the stars in the pattern — counting was an accomplishment she was proud of — before she wrapped it up.”

— Willa Cather

Anyone can bid a grand slam; making it is another matter. Here, South stretched to act at his first turn — rightly so, given his heart void. North was able to use key-card Blackwood in response. (Some would play his bid of four no-trump as takeout for the minors.) South’s response to the ace-asking bid showed two aces and a void, so North made the majestic leap to seven spades. Since South was missing the club queen, he had to use good judgment to make his contract.


When West led a heart, South ruffed, then drew trumps. The bidding suggested that West was more likely to hold the club queen than East, as hearts looked to be dividing 7-3. West had shown up with three spades to East’s one, which meant that East had only five spaces for minor-suit cards, to West’s seven.


But there was no need for haste, and declarer gave himself every chance to pinpoint the distribution. He cashed dummy’s ace and king of diamonds, then the heart ace, carefully throwing a club from hand. Dummy’s last heart was ruffed in hand, then South’s third diamond was ruffed in dummy, East showing out.


At this point West was proven to have started with three spades, and a minimum of three hearts and six diamonds, which left room for at most one club. So it was quite safe to lead dummy’s club king, then run the club jack through East to bring home the grand slam.

ANSWER: The way to show a balanced 18-20 hand is to double and then bid no-trump. This shows more than a direct one-no-trump overcall and not less than the direct overcall. With a balanced 12-14 and stoppers in the opponents’ suit, by the way, you have to pass in direct seat, although you can come in with a bid of one no-trump in the balancing seat.


South Holds:

K J 6 2
A 5 3
K J 10 4


South West North East
Dbl. Pass 1 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