Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, September 3, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: None


K 8 6 3

9 5

8 6 3 2

K 8 2


7 4

K J 10 3

A K Q 9

Q 10 5



8 7 6 4 2

7 5 4

J 6 4 3


A Q J 10 5 2


J 10

A 9 7


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

Opening Lead: K

“If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;

If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim…”

— Rudyard Kipling

The strong no-trump occasionally acts as a pre-emptive weapon. But when your opponents bid to game, it also can work to your disadvantage by telling declarer where the high cards are. Today West’s no-trump was strong, so it certainly made placing the outstanding high cards easy for South.

The auction also featured a point of interest: Is it better to play weak jump overcalls or strong ones when the opponents transfer into a major over a strong no-trump? Both options make sense, but on this deal South was playing strong jumps, and North thought that his two kings were enough to go forward. (He was also hoping that his hand might also offer a heart ruff.)

Against four spades West led the diamond king and received a count signal of the four from East. To avoid being forced to isolate the diamond menace, West cashed a second diamond and shifted to a trump.

Without a clear idea of where he was going, declarer won the trump in dummy, ruffed a diamond, and ran the rest of his trumps, reducing to a five-card ending in which West had to keep at least two hearts, or his king would drop. Since he had to retain the master diamond as well, he could keep only two clubs.

South now cashed the ace and king of clubs, then exited with the losing diamond from the board. West won the trick, but had to lead into South’s heart tenace, conceding the contract.


South Holds:

K 8 6 3
9 5
8 6 3 2
K 8 2


South West North East
  1 Dbl. Pass
1 Dbl. Rdbl. 2
ANSWER: It seems unlikely that you can defend clubs successfully, and since you have a second suit to bid, you should introduce it now, suggesting a little extra shape and moderate values. A call of two diamonds does not commit your hand to anything beyond the two-level.


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