Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, December 8th, 2011

When I'm not thanked at all, I'm thanked enough;
I’ve done my duty, and I’ve done no more.

Henry Fielding

South North
East-West ♠ J 10 7 6
 8 5 3
 K 10 8 4
♣ J 9
West East
♠ A 5
 A J 10 7 4 2
♣ Q 8 6 3
♠ 3 2
 K Q 6
 A Q J 7
♣ 10 5 4 2
♠ K Q 9 8 4
 9 6 3 2
♣ A K 7
South West North East
1♠ 2 3♠ 4
4♠ Pass Pass Dbl.
All pass      


In olden days questions North might have wondered if he had enough in competition for a free raise to two spades. These days North can jump in spades pre-emptively – since he would cuebid with a limit raise in spades or better.

When the opponents bid four hearts, South elected to sacrifice in four spades, not expecting to be more than two down and with little defense against hearts. West did not have enough in shape to bid any further, so he passed, allowing East to double.

Holding trump control, West thought it logical to lead his singleton diamond, which East won with the jack. East was uncertain whether the lead was a singleton or from length, so rather than commit himself one way or the other, he continued with the heart king. When West did not overtake to lead a diamond, but instead followed with the heart jack (an unnaturally high card), it was clear to East that the diamond lead rated to be a singleton.

It would have been easy for East to continue hearts. Had he done so, declarer would have ended up down two. Instead, he found the elegant play of continuing at trick three with a low diamond, giving West his ruff and preserving his own major tenace.

West exited with the spade ace and then the heart ace. That let South ruff and draw trumps, but he could not avoid losing two more diamond tricks for a penalty of 500.

In this situation, your RHO has made a nonforcing call, so you should feel quite comfortable about bidding two spades. This is not technically a balancing position, but the fact that East is limited allows you to bid with a hand of this strength. With an ace more, you could double and then bid spades.


♠ K Q 9 8 4
 9 6 3 2
♣ A K 7
South West North East
1 Pass 1 NT

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