Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Vulnerable: East-West

Dealer: South


A 7 2

10 7 5 4 2

K 8

9 8 6


K 6 3

A 9

A 9 6 5 3 2

7 3


J 10 8 5

K 8 6 3

J 7 4

K 5


Q 9 4


Q 10

A Q J 10 4 2


South West North East
1 NT* Pass 2 Pass
2 All pass

*nominally 15-17

Opening Lead: Diamond ace

“If a man, sitting all alone, cannot dream strange things, and make them look like truth, he need never try to write romance.”

— Nathaniel Hawthorne

Today’s deal, from a recent Cavendish tournament, demonstrates that the expert player will frequently break the rules when the situation demands it. In this case, the rule is that when leading a suit, one selects the highest card from a sequence and otherwise leads low.

Whatever no-trump range North-South was using, that South hand seems to fit it. Zia Mahmood duly opened one no-trump and Bob Hamman (North) transferred to two hearts to end the auction. Yes, one no-trump might have been better, but no one did anything silly here.

Marty Fleisher led ace and a second diamond, and Zia won the king and led a heart to the jack and ace. Fleisher continued the good work by leading a third diamond. Zia ruffed in dummy, played a club to the king and ace, then led a second trump. Eric Rodwell (East) won this and could see that he might need to take two spade tricks quickly. So he shifted to the spade 10, hoping for today’s lie of the cards. Zia covered with the queen, and when Fleisher played the king, Zia ducked it, assuming Fleisher held both the king and jack. Back came a second spade, and Zia was down whatever he did now. Had Rodwell shifted to the spade jack, Zia would surely have wrapped up eight tricks by covering the jack with the queen and taking dummy’s ace at once, assuming the 10 to be on his right.


South holds:

K 6 3
A 9
A 9 6 5 3 2
7 3


South West North East
1 1
2 Pass 2 Pass
2 NT Pass 3 Pass
ANSWER: The combination of the cue-bid and raise from your partner is game-forcing and suggests doubt about strain or level. Since you have an opening bid, six diamonds, and both a heart and spade control, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Start by cue-bidding three hearts and prepare to bid on past three no-trump if necessary.


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