Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday July 30th, 2011

Vulnerable: North-South

Dealer: East


K Q 10 9 3 2

A Q 5 3

Q 9 6


10 9 6 4 2

A Q J 9 7

A J 4


J 8 7 6 4

K J 8 7

4 3 2



A 5

K 10 8 6 5

K 10 8 7 5 3


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

Opening Lead: Heart 10

“All good things which exist are the fruit of originality.”

— John Stuart

Billy Eisenberg provided the details for this outstanding deal played by Steve Garner in the first qualifying session of the Von Zedtwitz Life Master Pairs.

Steve was playing with his regular partner, Howard Weinstein, against Tor Helness and Connie Goldberg. When a good player does not overcall but backs in to a live auction, he tends to have real length in the suit you opened. Garner knew his left-hand opponent was a great player, so he played accordingly.

On a heart lead against five clubs doubled, Garner ruffed, ran the club seven successfully, ruffed a diamond, and played the club queen to Helness’s ace. Back came a heart, and Garner ruffed again, then ran his trumps.

In the ending he had reduced to four spades and the ace-queen of hearts in dummy, with East also down to four spades and the guarded heart king. Garner now ran his spades, throwing East in with the fourth spade to lead into dummy’s heart tenace. Beautifully done!

For the sake of completeness, let me say that declarer had a very slight technical improvement to his line. Had he played the spade ace at trick two, he could not have been defeated. The defenders get two trump tricks but declarer can eventually establish the spades. Garner’s line had the minute flaw that if West covers the club seven with the jack at trick two, he can subsequently ruff the first spade, cash his club ace, and play the diamond ace, leaving declarer a trick short.


South holds:

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


South West North East
1 2
ANSWER: You have a suitable shape for a negative double but are at (or below) the low end in terms of high cards. While I would pass with the minors reversed, here the short clubs argue for action. A negative double may get your side in trouble but, equally, it may be your side’s last chance to get into the auction easily. So I’d double, and cross my fingers.


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