Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Vulnerable: Both

Dealer: East


K J 9 8 6

A 9 6 4

7 3

7 2



K Q 8 3

A Q 9 8

J 6 5 3


Q 5 2

5 2

10 6 5 4 2

Q 10 9


A 7 4 3

J 10 7


A K 8 4


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

Opening Lead: Heart king

“Some old crone let us seek,

To spit on us for luck and keep unlovely things afar.”

— Theocritus

Luck comes in all shapes and sizes. At the Dyspeptics Club, South is the big winner — though all the other players in his foursome would swear this was simply because of the rock-crushers that he picks up. He would tell you that the cards never lie well for him; judge for yourself, given today’s deal, who had the best of the argument.

West not unnaturally led a top heart against four spades; declarer won and cashed the top trumps, discovering the loser there, then reverted to hearts. West won his heart queen and after much thought played a club. Declarer could win and lead hearts, but when East ruffed in and played a diamond through declarer, the contract was one down. South pointed to the combination of bad breaks as conclusive proof that he was born under a black cloud. Do you agree?

South failed to understand the need to keep East off play for the duration of the hand in case the diamond honors were offside. While it is normal to play for the drop when there are four trumps out missing the queen, this is the exception that proves the rule.

Win the heart ace, cash the spade king, then play a small spade to your seven. If this loses to West, he can do you no harm. You can win his return and knock out the heart queen, establishing a winner on which to discard a diamond.


South holds:

K J 9 8 6
A 9 6 4
7 3
7 2


South West North East
1 Pass 1
ANSWER: This sort of hand will get players worked up, some claiming that an overcall of one spade is absurd, others telling you that it is automatic. I am closer to the second camp. You bid with this hand, not because you expect to make a spade partscore or game, but to help partner in the bidding and play. When you don’t overcall in spades, you don’t got ’em!


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


Albert OhanaJune 9th, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Dear M. Wolff

We had a discussion with some players about an auction, and please could you tell me what is right and what is wrong:

you are South and have





West opens 1S, North Doubles, East Redoubles, and you say 2H ( do you agree ?)

West says 2S, N pass, East pass, and you bid 3C, which is passed out.

Does the bid of 3C promise more Clubs than Hearts, or do you confirm 5 Hearts and maybe 4 OR 5 Clubs ?

Many thanks in advance

Al. Ohana

bobby wolffJune 9th, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Hi Albert.

Bidding 3 clubs in that spot may easily suggest 4 hearts and 5 clubs. Partner almost always (the exception being an enormous hand) wants you, his partner, to bid the other major and so he may expect only 4 hearts when you bid them. However the partner of the doubler, in spite of the redouble by his RHO, should jump to 3 hearts to show a fair to middling other major response and to let partner know that you are happy with the bidding. If that is done, the problem that arose would remain dormant.

jim2June 9th, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Beat Lynch! (Seniors Trials in Detroit)

bobby wolffJune 11th, 2011 at 8:12 am

Hi Jim2,

Deed done and thanks.

If only our heroic Navy Seals team. who, no doubt, accomplished a far greater task, also played bridge, our game would have gotten the publicity it so richly deserves.

Oh well, time and life goes on, but let me please say, Go Mavericks (I lived in Dallas for 35 years), beat the Heat and lay the demons to rest.