Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 4th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: East-West


Q 6 2

K J 3

K 7 6 5

10 7 3


J 8 4


J 10 3 2

K Q J 9 8


10 9 7 3

Q 10 7 5

Q 9

6 4 2


A K 5

A 8 6 4 2

A 8 4

A 5


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: Club King

“Titles are shadows, crowns are empty things,

The good of subjects is the end of kings.”

— Daniel Defoe

Today’s deal features a hand from the Dyspeptics Club. The foursome who make up the game play regularly in fixed partnerships, although it has never been clear to me why South puts up with North’s abuse, or indeed how East can tolerate the vagaries of his partner’s card-play.


Today’s deal is an example of how South’s inconsistent declarer-play could rouse his partner’s ire. Possessed of his usual rock-crusher, South wasted no time in the auction to reach a heart game with the minimum of investigation, and equally spent no time at all in the play of the hand, missing the entire point of the deal. He won the club lead and cashed the ace and king of hearts, loudly cursing his bad luck when trump failed to split.


North, having taken a quick peak at his opponents’ hands, was ready with his response that the only unlucky person at the table was himself — but that he deserved his bad luck for having agreed to play with South. Can you see what he meant?


With no danger of an adverse ruff, South should have directed his efforts to losing only one trump trick. By leading low to the heart king, then crossing back to hand with the spade king to lead up to dummy’s heart jack, South could have insured losing only one trump against any except the most hostile of breaks.


As the cards lay, this approach would have left South with a finesse against East’s 10-7 of trump on the third round.


South Holds:

10 9 7 3
Q 10 7 5
Q 9
6 4 2


South West North East
  1 Dbl. 1
Pass 2 Dbl. Pass
ANSWER: Your partner’s second double is for takeout, since one can never convert a takeout double to penalties — especially at a low level and when facing a passed partner. There is something to be said for bidding two hearts here, but introducing an unbid suit, spades, seems marginally wiser, despite the disparity in suit quality.


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

1 Comment

Howard Bigot-JohnsonNovember 19th, 2011 at 8:39 am

HBJ : A lovely example on card technique catering for an adverse 4-1 trump either side.
( ps. I left a comment on your Nov 16th post which strangely hasn’t gone through direct…. but left ” unmoderated ” ? )