Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Dealer: East

Vul: Both


J 10

Q 10 7 5

K J 10 5 3

A 5


K 7 6 2

9 3 2


J 9 4 3 2


Q 9 8 4

8 4

A Q 9 4

Q 8 7


A 5 3

A K J 6

8 7 6

K 10 6


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

Opening Lead: Diamond Two

“‘Much noise and little wool,’ said the devil when he sheared a pig.”

— English proverb

The three little pigs have taken to duplicate bridge — I’d say like ducks to water, if that didn’t throw up a disturbing zoological image. All three piglets sat East, at their various tables, defending four hearts, and the three Wests all led their singleton diamond. The first little pig — addicted to straw houses — won the diamond lead, cashed the diamond ace and gave his partner a ruff. He was hoping his partner would have an ace to cash – close but no cigar, since declarer’s slow spade loser went away on the established diamond.


The second little pig, who had constructed a house from twigs, saw the danger of establishing the diamonds. He did not cash the diamond ace, but gave his partner the ruff by leading back a low diamond at trick two – a very nice play, you would have thought. So it was, but West did not know what to do next. He guessed to play a club through dummy’s ace, and declarer wn and drew trump, then knocked out the diamond ace in comfort.


The little pig who preferred the brick house also shifted to a diamond at trick two, but he thoughtfully gave suit preference by returning the diamond nine. He knew his partner would cash an ace if he had one, and if West had the club king, declarer would be able to pitch a club loser on his spades.


West took his ruff and played a spade, and declarer was unable to avoid a further spade and diamond loser.


South Holds:

J 10
Q 10 7 5
K J 10 5 3
A 5


South West North East
1 1 Dbl. 2
ANSWER: Your partner’s double of one spade is sometimes referred to as competitive or snapdragon, or just a plain fourth-suit double. It is NOT penalties; you cannot make a low-level penalty double of the opponents in a forcing auction. The sequence suggests four or five hearts and decent values, so you should jump to three hearts to invite game.


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