Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: All


A K 8 3 2

4 2

A K 8 7

10 2


10 7

A 10 7 6 3

9 6 3

8 7 4


Q 9 6 4

K Q J 8


J 9 6 3


J 5

9 5

Q J 10 4 2

A K Q 5


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 2 Dbl.
Pass Pass 3 Pass
4 Pass 5 All Pass

Opening Lead: A

“What is man in nature? Nothing in relation to the infinite, everything in relation to nothing, a mean between nothing and everything.”

— Blaise Pascal

In the featured auction here from last year’s Lederer tournament, North-South (Tony Priday and Bernard Teltscher) exercised some nice judgment.

Continuations after fourth suit forcing are notoriously difficult. In today’s deal, if South had a significant doubleton spade honor (such as the ace, king, or even queen), it would be clearly right to show that at his fourth turn.

On the actual deal it is extremely hard to decide what to do with the doubleton spade jack, and one can hardly fault Teltscher’s choice of four diamonds — particularly since it led to the best game!

While there is nothing to the play in five diamonds, the Irish (the eventual tournament winners) were in four spades from the North seat against Dixon and Silverstone, South having supported spades at his fourth turn and North having raised himself to game.

Victor Silverstone as East showed that the simple way to defeat that game was to lead hearts at every opportunity. But even here, there was a trap to avoid. He started with the heart king and then continued thoughtfully with the queen. Dixon could not get in the way by overtaking, so now Silverstone could continue with a third heart.

Declarer ruffed in hand and tried a spade toward the jack, but Silverstone rose with his queen and exited with a diamond. Declarer could win and unblock the spade jack, but had no safe route back to hand to draw trumps and had to concede a diamond ruff.


South Holds:

J 5
9 5
Q J 10 4 2
A K Q 5


South West North East
  2 3 3
ANSWER: There are only two practical options here. You can double, which is card-showing, not penalties, or you can bid four hearts. The latter is the call you would have made had the opponents not competed for a second time. I’m torn between the two actions, but I tend to believe the opponents and so would simply raise to four hearts rather than try something more extravagant.


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