Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, June 16th, 2012

Yet half I seemed to recognize some trick
Of mischief happened to me.

Robert Browning

South North
Neither ♠ K J 5
 10 4 2
 K J 9
♣ Q 6 5 3
West East
♠ Q 10
 A 9 8 6 5
 7 6 4 3 2
♣ A
♠ 8 7 3
 J 3
 A Q 8 5
♣ J 10 9 4
♠ A 9 6 4 2
 K Q 7
♣ K 8 7 2
South West North East
1♠ Pass 2♠ Pass
Pass 2 NT* 3♠ All pass



Michael Gromoeller and Andreas Kirmse, a pair who play on Germany's Open team, have established a formidable reputation. A double duck demonstrated their prowess in today's deal at the 1st World Mind Sports Games.

Against three spades West led the club ace, then switched to the diamond deuce, which showed an odd number. On winning with the queen and noting the fall of the 10 from South, Kirmse played back the club nine — his lowest club because he expected to win his diamond ace and give his partner a second ruff. However, West ruffed, then returned the trump queen instead of playing a second diamond. He knew that if South did hold a second diamond, the contract would fail, so there was no urgency in that department.

Declarer drew the rest of the trumps, then advanced dummy’s diamond king, on which Kirmse impassively played low (realizing declarer had to be void now). Deciding that it was West who held the diamond ace, declarer ruffed, then crossed to dummy in clubs to play a heart to the king. which, in turn, Gromoeller also ducked. Being devoid of further entries to dummy, and knowing the distribution — and the location of the red aces — South continued with the heart seven, expecting that East would be forced to win with the ace. But East’s singleton honor was the jack, and his club return meant that South’s contract had to fail.

In this auction, a rebid of two no-trump suggests a quasi-balanced hand with 12-14 points and is probably the least lie. Even if you play two-over-one game-forcing, I draw the line at bidding three clubs with a minimum hand and a poor four-card minor. I feel that that call should show either extras or a fifth club. Repeating spades on a poor five-carder is also unattractive.


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


JaneJune 30th, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Hi Bobby,

I wonder why west did not use Michaels and bid two spades over the south open of one spade? If this had happened, how do you think north should respond to show a good hand for spades, but not terrific since the hand is so flat? Would three spades be right, or should north bid one of the minors depending on partnership agreement to show a limit raise? With this north hand, three spades may be the best choice.

Thanks in advance.

Iain ClimieJune 30th, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Hi Mr. Wolff,

Fine defence but should South be fooled. Has West really underled the DA at trick 2 if he hasn’t got the HA and has East really played the DQ without the Ace? Also why has West given up on the obvious chance of another ruff by exiting with a trump? I think declarer helped here.


Iain Climie

bobby wolffJuly 1st, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Hi Jane,

Aside from the fact that West’s red suits were a bit skimpy, it definitely lended to a Michael’s action, assuming they were playing that convention.

If West had bid 2 spades (Michaels), then North should just bid 3 spades as a competitive action. As it was, North only bid 2 spades, trying not to get too high if partner had only a minimum or minimum+ opening bid

bobby wolffJuly 1st, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Hi Iain,

Since this was a real hand, played with real life humans the losing declarer didn’t measure up to being able to figure out what to do.

Sometimes the answers are inexplicable and better off (at least for that declarer) to not be further investigated.