Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: Both


5 3 2

9 7 4

5 3

A J 7 6 5


J 10 9 6

Q 8 3

Q 9

Q 10 9 3


Q 8 7

K J 5 2

J 10 8 7 6



A K 4

A 10 6

A K 4 2

K 4 2


South West North East
2NT Pass 3NT All Pass

Opening Lead: Jack

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

— Oscar Wilde

At the Dyspeptics Club the players approach the game in the same way they approach life. North, the cynic, is constantly waiting for catastrophe to strike; East is careful and cautious, as befits an accountant. West strides like Johnny Head-in-Air at full speed into the nearest puddle. Meanwhile, South, who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, believes nothing bad will ever happen to him and is constantly surprised when things go wrong.


For example, in today’s deal, where he (South) had reached three no-trump in double-quick time, he went down almost as fast. He won the opening spade lead, cashed the club king while noticing that both opponents had followed, and heaved a premature sigh of relief before leading a club to dummy’s jack. The finesse held, but the 4-1 break meant that although South could set up a long club, he could never reach it. With no material for a ninth trick anymore, all South could do was concede down one and wait for his partner’s inevitable criticism. Was the criticism justified?


Yes, it was. When West follows to the second club (even if he deviously selects the club queen at his second turn), South should resist temptation and duck the trick. By surrendering one club trick, he ensures taking four tricks — all he needs for the contract. When East shows out on the second club, declarer can take the marked club finesse against West, then run the suit.


South Holds:

A K 4
A 10 6
A K 4 2
K 4 2


South West North East
  1 Pass Pass
ANSWER: Experts use a balancing call of two no-trump here as strong and natural — about 19-21 points — describing your hand to a tee. With a balanced 16-18, you would double and bid no-trump cheaply; with 12-15 or so, you would bid one no-trump. This last bid shows less than it would in direct seat, as would all simple balancing actions. The only other sensible choice would be to double, then jump in no-trump.


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 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact