Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W


K J 10


A Q 7

A K Q 10 8 5


8 5 4 3

K 8 2

J 10 9 3

6 2


A 9 6

A 3

K 6 5 4

J 9 7 4


Q 7 2

Q J 9 7 6 5 4

8 2


South West North East
3 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening Lead: J

“Our sympathy is cold to the relation of distant misery.”

— Edward Gibbon

You might not agree with South’s decision to treat his hand as worth a three-level pre-empt, but my view is that at this vulnerability one is entitled to take a little latitude (or maybe rather more than a little) with pre-empting in first seat. There are, after all, two opponents to contend with but only one partner. Be that as it may, North felt he had enough to bid on to the heart game, although a call of three no-trump would have been a very practical alternative.

On the lead of the diamond jack, declarer won the ace, played two top clubs while discarding a diamond, and led dummy’s heart. Can you see any hope for the defense?

East knew that since his side could take no more than one trick in the side-suits, his partner had to have decent trumps to have any hope of defeating the game. That being so, a trump promotion or two would offer the best chance of a fourth trick. Accordingly, he won the heart ace and played a club. Declarer was forced to ruff high, and West discarded a diamond (to make sure his partner did not try to give him a spade ruff later on). When declarer led another high trump from his hand, West could win and play a spade to East’s ace. The fourth round of clubs promoted his heart eight to the setting trick.


South Holds:

A 9 6
A 3
K 6 5 4
J 9 7 4
South West North East
1 Pass
ANSWER: Depending upon your partner’s ability, one option would be to respond in no-trump, in which case you’d jump to three no-trump to show 12-15. An inverted minor-suit raise to two clubs is also possible, so long as you play a simple raise is forcing here. But I’d prefer to respond one diamond. That gives partner room to describe his hand, and might also let the opponents warn us of dangers in one major or the other.

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