Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 26th, 2011

Vulnerable: East-West

Dealer: North


J 5 3

9 8 3

K Q 10 9 3

Q 8


K Q 4

Q 10 4 2

A 2

K 10 7 4


10 9 8 7

J 7 6

7 6 5

6 5 2


A 6 2

A K 5

J 8 4

A J 9 3


South West North East
Pass Pass
1 NT Pass 3 NT All pass

Opening Lead: Heart four

“This fellow’s wise enough to play the fool,

And to do that well craves a kind of wit.”

— William Shakespeare

Bruce Ferguson is one of the most imaginative players; it is always entertaining to see how far he will go. As the things he does become more outrageous, the more people suspect him, so he has to keep trying ever more unusual tricks. But he still keeps reeling in the victims!

Consider this example from a recent Cavendish Teams, where he caught another world champion and added yet another notch to his belt. If you play three no-trump as South, as did the vast majority of the field, you find the cards lying exceptionally well. With the diamond ace doubleton, plus spades and hearts behaving better than one has a right to expect, it looks very hard to go down. Ferguson fired the first shot by leading a deceptive heart four, playing fourth-highest leads. When you have a hand this strong, it can be a good move to randomize your spot-card leads. When South ducked the first heart, Ferguson had won the first battle. Back came another heart and South won, crossed to a top diamond, and passed the club queen. Ferguson won and put the spade four on the table! West eyed this suspiciously and decided to duck. We can all see that this may not be technically supportable, but West had given him the chance to go wrong and he took it. All credit to Ferguson, who left chortling, with another victim added to what is by now a rather long list.


South holds:

J 5 3
9 8 3
K Q 10 9 3
Q 8


South West North East
1 1
ANSWER: This is about the weakest spade holding you could have where I would advocate overcalling one no-trump. I admit this may not work — no-trump may be the wrong strain, or may play better from your partner’s position. However, with so many values, I’d be worried that passing will keep our side permanently out of the auction.


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