Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: All

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


South West North East
  2 Dbl. Pass
4 Pass 4 NT Pass
5 Pass 5 Pass
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead: King

“Time, you old gipsy man,

Will you not stay,

Put up your caravan

Just for one day?”

— Ralph Hodgson

Today’s deal features one of my favorite partners, Seymon Deutsch, with whom I was successful in the Venice Olympiad 22 years ago. Seymon’s leap to four spades was full-blooded (a euphemism for a slight overbid). North asked for keycards (the five aces, with the trump king counting as a fifth ace). Over the one-keycard response, North could use the first step to locate the trump queen. Without it, Deutsch would have reverted to the trump suit at the cheapest level; with it, he could cuebid a king if he had one, or jump in the trump suit if he had nothing to cuebid, as here.


The awkward duplication in diamonds makes your slam a delicate one. Deutsch won the opening heart-king lead, drew trumps, played off the top diamonds, and tested the clubs. If they broke, he would have had a home for one of the heart losers. When they did not break, Deutsch had one more chance. He knew the hearts were breaking 6-1, so East had none left. Instead of ruffing the club loser, which would then have forced him to lead a heart sooner or later and concede two tricks in that suit, he made the opponents work for him.


He played dummy’s last club and pitched a heart from hand. East was on play with only minor suits left. Whichever he led, Deutsch could discard his last heart from hand and ruff in dummy. Contract made!

ANSWER: This is an awkward hand, but the best way to keep the auction open is to give false preference to two diamonds. Raising clubs gets the values across, but it is very awkward to raise a second suit with only three-card support. No other invitational call is close to describing the hand, and rebidding spades is very ugly indeed.


South Holds:

Q 7 6 4 2
10 9 7
Q 9
A Q 8


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 2 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