Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 12, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: N/S


Q J 4 3 2

Q 10

Q J 6

A J 2


K 10 8 5


A 10 8 5 4 3

9 6



K 5 3

K 9

K Q 10 8 7 5 3


A 9 7

J 9 8 7 6 4 2

7 2



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

Opening Lead: 9

“Life without industry is guilt, and industry without art is brutality.”

— John Ruskin

Today’s deal, from the final of the United States Bridge Championships to select a team for the 2007 World Championships, features a superb defense by Zia Mahmood and Michael Rosenberg. Their team went on to win the silver medal, behind Norway.

In the other room Zia and Michael’s counterparts as East-West had scored plus 430 in three no-trump. But here, an enterprising South elected to sacrifice in four hearts, and North did well to let his partner stew in his own juice rather than rescuing in four spades. It appears that two down, for plus 500, is the limit — two hearts, two diamonds and a spade trick — but Zia’s reasoning led to a third undertrick.

His club lead was won by dummy’s ace, Rosenberg playing the three. Declarer then played the heart queen, putting Zia back on lead. Because East’s simple overcall showed values, Zia accurately placed him with the red kings and a singleton spade. (Rosenberg’s club three was suit preference, suggesting the diamond king.)

So Zia shifted to a low diamond, which went to Rosenberg’s king, and the spade return was taken by South’s ace. East won the ensuing trump lead with the king and played a diamond to West’s ace. Then the spade king and a spade ruff produced plus 800.

Note that had Zia played the diamond ace and a second diamond, the defenders’ communications would have been cut for the spade ruff.


South Holds:

K 10 8 5
A 10 8 5 4 3
9 6


South West North East
1 Dbl. Rdbl. Pass
ANSWER: Your partner’s redouble shows a good hand (typically upwards of 10 HCP, rarely based on diamond support). You would normally pass and await clarification, but here your extra shape suggests you continue describing your hand pattern by bidding one spade. You have not shown your extra values yet, but you can do so later, assuming the auction continues.


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