Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

And let me tell you, reading about one's failings in the daily papers is one of the privileges of high office in this free country of ours.

Nelson Rockefeller

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


At matchpoints, once a major-suit fit has been found, it is hardly ever right to change directions and head toward a minor suit or no-trump. But at the slam level, however, it may pay to abandon a 5-3 major fit in favor of a 4-4 minor, and no-trump could be selected, either for matchpoint reasons or because it may survive a weakness in the major.

Both these factors influenced one of my readers, Barton Bloom, in bidding seven no-trump in today’s deal. He was not using Keycard Blackwood, a convention that allows you to locate the subsidiary trump honors. He had visualized better spades in the dummy and saw little advantage in playing spades rather than no-trump.

Unfortunately, the hole in the spade suit meant that any grand slam was virtually hopeless. But Bloom did not give up. He began by winning the opening lead of the diamond-king with the ace and cashing four heart winners.

Even though South had begun with only 10 tricks, with an 11th trick to come from a club finesse, he was able to exert huge pressure on West. When he led the last heart, he could turn 11 tricks into 13. At the table West threw a club, and now the club finesse brought home the grand slam. A spade discard would have been equally fatal, and throwing the diamond queen would have been only a temporary salvation. The diamond 10 would have put West through the wringer again.

Although there are still a few people who play a cuebid of two diamonds as strong and artificial, the most popular treatment of the call is to use it as a Michaels cuebid, showing 5-5 in the majors. The minimum strength would be this hand without the heart king, at any vulnerability, so in context you have a decent hand for the bid.


♠ K 10 8 7 5
 K Q J 6 5
 A 6
♣ 4
South West North East

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