Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.

Benjamin Franklin

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

*Clubs, weak or strong


In today's deal from last year's Yeh Brothers Cup, the point was made that one should not pull a takeout double from fear alone. Particularly if both sides are vulnerable, the benefit of going plus may almost equal the cost of letting a doubled partscore make. If a few doubled contracts do not make, you probably are not doubling enough.

That said, the pain when you double the opponents into game and don’t defend accurately may be the critical factor that suggests caution in this area. And the following deal exhibits that theme nicely.

After Huub Bertens’ double of three clubs, Jack Zhao judged well not to run to three hearts. At this vulnerability he must have figured that he had every chance of a decent penalty. Right he was … in a sense.

The defenders cashed two spades and two diamonds, leaving West on play. At this point West was tempted to lead a high diamond to let East discard, but that turned out to be fatal. Either major suit would work to disrupt declarer’s entries and to prevent declarer from shortening himself.

On West’s top diamond play, East threw a spade, and declarer, Frankie Karwur, ruffed in hand, overtook a heart to run the club jack and 10 as East ducked. Then he ruffed another diamond to hand and went back to a top heart. With the lead in dummy he could score his club ace and queen, whatever the defense did.

You cannot bid no-trump without a heart stop, and a negative double almost guarantees four spades, so should be your choice only if nothing else seems attractive. I'd guess to bid two clubs, assuming partner will be able to bid no-trump, repeat diamonds, or raise clubs, any of which wouldn't disturb me.


♠ K 10 6
 7 6 4 3
 A 9
♣ K 7 4 2
South West North East
1 1

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