Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: Both


9 4

K J 9 3 2

8 7 6

7 6 5


A Q J 10 8 3


Q 5

Q 10 3 2


Q 8 5 4

A 9 4 3 2

A K J 8


K 7 6 5 2

A 7 6

K J 10

9 4


South West North East
1 Pass Pass Dbl.
All Pass      

Opening Lead: Spade Ace

“There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.”

— Mark Twain

Conventional wisdom says not to reopen with a takeout double over a passed-out one-bid when you hold a void in the opener’s suit. Partner is too apt to pass, and since you won’t be able to lead a trump or two through declarer, partner will surely be endplayed once or twice by the end of the hand.


However, as Eddie Kantar recounts, when South opened a little light, Kantar’s partner, Billy Eisenberg, passed in the West seat as did North. Sitting East, Kantar decided to reopen with a takeout double, spade void notwithstanding. This is what happened.


Billy made the great lead and continuation of the spade ace, then queen, hoping to get in again and draw declarer’s trump. South gulped when East discarded a low heart and a low diamond (implying club strength) at the first two tricks, and was in with the spade king. At trick three declarer cashed the heart ace (little did he know that this was his last trick!) and led a heart toward dummy. Eisenberg, alive to what was going on, ruffed the heart, drew declarer’s trump, and (now playing no-trump) shifted to a club. Four club tricks later saw the hand reduced to two cards with Kantar on lead. He had the A-9 of diamonds, declarer the K-J and Billy the Q-5. He switched to a low diamond, declarer played the jack, and the defenders took the last two tricks.


East-West had defeated the hand five tricks for a score of plus 1400. As Kantar commented, “so much for conventional wisdom!”


South Holds:

9 4
K J 9 3 2
8 7 6
7 6 5


South West North East
Pass 1 1 1
ANSWER: Jump raises of overcalls and of opening bids in competition are best played as pre-emptive — you will always have a cue-bid available to show better hands. Here, a jump to three hearts suggests these values with four or five trumps. With a little more shape in the side-suits, you might bid four hearts.


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