Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W



K Q 6 3 2

A J 3 2

K J 3


K Q 8 7 3

9 4

8 6

9 7 6 5


A 2

J 10 8 7 5

9 7 4

10 8 2


J 10 6 5 4


K Q 10 5

A Q 4


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 4 Pass
4 Pass 4 NT Pass
5 Pass 6 All Pass

Opening Lead: 6

“How beautiful, if sorrow had not made

Sorrow more beautiful than Beauty’s self.”

— John Keats

This deal from the match in the Junior Championships between Belgium and Austria swung 16 IMPs to the latter team.

Against six diamonds, West’s club lead went to the 10 and queen. Declarer unblocked the heart ace, played the trump king, crossed to the club jack, and ruffed a heart. She followed with the trump 10, which she overtook with the ace. Now she had a problem: if the hearts were originally 5-2 and the clubs 4-3, she had to ruff the last small heart, cross to dummy with the club king, and draw the last trump, after which dummy would be high. If the hearts behaved but the club split was bad, all she had to do now was to draw the last trump and enjoy dummy. She finally guessed wrong and went down one.

Bad luck? Maybe, but this line requires either a 3-2 trump split and a final guess, or all other suits behaving if the trumps break 4-1.

In the other room, Adele Gogoman showed how to play the contract. She took the club lead in hand with the queen and played a spade to the nine. East took the trick and returned a club to the ace. Gogoman now ruffed a spade, crossed to the heart ace, ruffed a spade high, and was now able to draw the remaining trumps and reach dummy with the club king to cash the last two hearts. This line would only have failed against a 6-1 break in a black suit, or a 5-0 break in trumps.


South Holds:

K Q 6 3 2
A J 3 2
K J 3


South West North East
  Pass Pass 1
1 1 Pass 2
ANSWER: Double to show the red suits and extra values, allowing your partner to compete to the appropriate level. You might possibly be helping declarer place the cards if he ends up in spades, but you cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs.


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 karlsonSeptember 8th, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Bid with…

Another advantage of the double is that partner might be holding j9xx or better in trumps and, depending on vulnerability, convert.

Bobby WolffSeptember 8th, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Hi Bruce,

Yes, of course, an advantage in a reopening double always carries with it an option to defend and with higher stakes involved.

HOWEVER, in order to have both partner’s trust the other’s judgment, a leave in of partner’s TO double is not to be taken lightly. Holding only J8xx or somesuch cannot possibly be enough to warrant a leave it. Possible leave in holdings might be KQ10x or AQJx and in rare occasions

partner may have 5, such as QJ8xx when the opener has raised his partner’s suit on only 3, expecting 5 from partner, but, in this case being disappointed.

Edgar Kaplan once made a famous quote on the subject, as he had on many important bridge subjects, “When partner makes a take out double try one’s best to cooperate and take it out”.

Finally a disclaimer from me, I have always been conservative in trying for tops or bundles of IMP’s, and perhaps I have leaned too far in that direction. My advice is to develop your own personality and style, but always be consistent.