Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W


A J 6 4

A 9 7

J 9 5

6 5 2


Q 10 9

J 5 2

K Q 7

J 9 7 3


K 8 3 2

10 4

A 6 4 3 2

10 8


7 5

K Q 8 6 3

10 8

A K Q 4


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

Opening Lead: 10

“Among all forms of mistake, prophecy is the most gratuitous.”

— George Eliot

When responder to a major-suit opening bid has a 10-count with three trumps, he has three ways to describe his hand. If he has extra shape (say a side-suit singleton or extra length in a side-suit), he might jump directly to three of partner’s suit. More typical, though, is to downgrade the hand into a constructive raise to two of partner’s suit, or to upgrade the hand via the forcing no-trump to a balanced limit-raise.

This was what today’s North did. South, with concentrated values in his two suits and decent high cards, had an easy acceptance of the invitation.

In four hearts, declarer must not pin all his hopes on a 3-3 split in clubs, since he can make provision against a 4-2 split as well. West leads the spade 10, which South allows to hold the trick. After winning the spade continuation, what next?

After taking the heart ace and king, declarer should next lead out the three top clubs. If the clubs split 3-3, he can draw the last trump and claim. If the clubs split 4-2 and the third round is ruffed, dummy will have a trump to ruff the fourth club. Nothing has been lost, since the contract would always have gone down one.

However, if the clubs split 4-2 and the defender who is long in clubs also has the last heart, the contract can be made by ruffing the fourth club before pulling the last trump.


South Holds:

7 5
K Q 8 6 3
10 8
A K Q 4


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: Your partner’s use of the fourth suit is conventional. It is artificial and game-forcing and asks you to describe your hand further. With no real support for your partner and no diamond stop, the cheapest call of two hearts is the least lie. It does not promise six hearts, merely a rebiddable five-card suit, or better.


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