Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: North-South


5 3

K 9 2

A Q 10 6

J 9 8 6



Q J 10

K 9 4

A Q 7 4 3 2


J 6 4 2

A 6 4

8 5 2

K 10 5


A K Q 10 9 7

8 7 5 3

J 7 3


South West North East
1 2 Pass Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
3 Pass 3 Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: Heart Queen

“Everything must be like something, so what is this like?”

— E.M. Forster

In this spade game from a pairs contest at the Orlando Nationals, Jeff Aker demonstrated that he could cope with his partner’s overbidding. The deal features a trump coup, a way to take a finesse in the trump suit, even though one of the hands has no trump left. Does that sound illogical? Read on.


One point about the auction is worth noting: South did not reopen with a negative double at his second turn to speak. With such limited defense, he would have pulled a penalty double from his partner, so he did not want to give his partner a chance to defend.


Perhaps North should simply have raised two spades to three, but he thought his lack of club honors facing likely shortage would mean that his honors would come in useful.


The defenders led three rounds of hearts and shifted to a club. Aker ruffed, cashed the spade ace and king to find the bad news, then led a diamond to the 10, ruffed a second club, and went back to the diamond queen.


At this point in the deal, declarer was all set up for the trump coup. He was down to two trumps and one card in each red suit, with dummy having the doubleton diamond ace and two small clubs. Aker cashed the diamond ace, then the diamond six to pitch his good heart, and remained in dummy for the trump coup at trick 12.


South Holds:

5 3
K 9 2
A Q 10 6
J 9 8 6


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 1 Pass
ANSWER: You could settle for a slightly cautious call of one no-trump. If not, you are somewhere between a simple preference to two clubs or an invitational jump to three clubs. I prefer the more aggressive position because of the possibility of spade ruffs in your hand. Your partner’s rebid of one spade should show at least 4-4 in the black suits; with a balanced hand, he should rebid one no-trump.


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