Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, April 14th, 2012

While clearness is a virtue of style, perfect explicitness is not a necessary virtue.

Arthur Symons

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


In action here against France in the McConnell Cup at the 2002 World Championships is the Netherlands Women's team, that only two months previously had won the European Championships.

Against three no-trump West, Marijke van der Pas, led the club nine, which promised the 10, but no higher honor. Declarer won in hand and played the spade 10, which was allowed to hold. Van der Pas won the spade continuation with the king and switched to the diamond seven, won by dummy’s ace. A third spade was taken by Bep Vriend’s ace, and van der Pas had to find a discard. In their methods, a lead of a low card promised a good suit, and that diamond seven was not particularly low, albeit the lowest she had available. So it was certainly possible that East would do the wrong thing unless helped out by an informative discard.

How to persuade partner to continue diamonds? She solved the conundrum by discarding her heart queen. This could not be a request for a heart return, but instead a warning to switch, with suit-preference overtones. Vriend read the situation perfectly and returned the only card to defeat the contract — the diamond 10. A low diamond would not have been good enough. Declarer would have ducked, and West, forced to win the trick, could not profitably continue the suit.

In the other room the unbeatable four-spade contract was reached, so the Netherlands registered a game swing.

Facing a one-level overcall with a 12-count, you can't be sure your side even has the majority of high points. A jump to two no-trump would suggest a somewhat better hand. (With the spade jack in addition, you might risk the call.) If you bid one no-trump, you'd be showing about 8-12, and with any luck you would hear your partner bid on if he had extra shape or high-cards.


♠ 10 9
 A 7 6 2
 Q 6 5 4
♣ A Q 5
South West North East
1 1♠ Pass

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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact