Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: E/W


A K 9

10 3

A K J 9 7 4

5 3


J 5 2

J 6 2

6 2

K 10 6 4 2


10 8 7 3

Q 9 8 7 4

Q 3

A 9


Q 6 4

A K 5

10 8 5

Q J 8 7


South West North East
    1 Pass
2 NT Pass 6 NT All Pass

Opening Lead: J

“I see the better way, and approve it; I follow the worse.”

— Ovid

It is especially satisfying to declarers when they can take more tricks seeing only two hands than the spectators and commentators can envision viewing all four hands.

Consider this deal, where, trailing by 68 IMPs going into the final 15-board segment of the U.S. International Team Trials in 2000, the Schwartz team started a huge charge. They made up half the deficit in the first three boards, though they fell just short at the end.

The commentator saw Zia Mahmood and Michael Rosenberg reach six no-trump and foolishly said that this looked like a big pickup for their opponents, since there was no play for the slam. Michael Rosenberg, who did not hear this comment, proved it inaccurate.

On West’s deceptive lead of the spade jack, the defense had already started to create a problem for themselves. Rosenberg won, cashed the diamond ace, then led a club from dummy. East missed his first chance to settle declarer’s hash by rising with the ace and returning the suit — a play that, in retrospect, could hardly have cost.

As it was, West won his club king and played a second diamond. Now declarer rose with the king and ran the diamonds, East’s first discard being an encouraging heart. At this point, instead of pitching spades to clarify the position to his partner, West chose to believe his partner’s discard and pitched a heart. Curtains! Declarer ran the diamonds and spades to squeeze East in hearts and clubs: contract made.


South Holds:

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


South West North East
Pass Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: A jump in balancing seat is not weak and pre-emptive, even if you play weak jump overcalls in almost every other seat. Jumps in this seat should be intermediate (say 12-15 with a good six-card suit). You want to drive the hand to game, but three no-trump could easily be best. Cuebid three clubs, planning to follow up with three no-trump, offering partner the choice of games.


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