Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

She looketh as butter would not melt in her mouth.

John Heywood

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


From the final of the mixed teams at the European open championships last summer comes today's deal. It occurred in a match between French and Dutch teams.

In one room, playing a system far removed from the standard strong no-trump and five-card majors, the French East opened a very weak no-trump. One no-trump doubled would not have been much fun, but North ended up in two hearts. Against that contract Benedicte Cronier (East) cashed two high clubs and gave Pierre Zimmermann a ruff. He exited with a low diamond, which ran to dummy’s queen. The heart jack went to Cronier’s king, and she played a fourth round of clubs, allowing Zimmermann to ruff. Declarer, Anton Maas, overruffed, later conceding a diamond for plus 110.

Catherine D’Ovidio and Philippe Cronier got to game at the other table, on the auction shown. Against that contract Ton Bakkeren started with a low spade, taken in dummy with the ace. D’Ovidio innocently played a low club from dummy, and Carla Arnolds erred by playing low. Had she won the king and continued with a spade, the timing would have been right to defeat the contract. When she played low, D’Ovidio won and played the heart jack, ducked by Arnolds. Another heart went to the queen and king. D’Ovidio took the spade switch in hand and led a diamond. West ducked, and the diamond king held. D’Ovidio had four hearts, three spades and a trick in each minor for plus 400 and a 7-IMP gain.

You have two reasonably attractive options — one no-trump, suggesting 6-10, or two clubs, bidding your long suit. The attraction of the first call is that one is sometimes disappointed with the amount of support one buys on this auction for the unbid minor. And the no-trump bid limits the hand nicely, never a bad idea.


♠ Q 6 2
 J 9
 Q 7 6 4
♣ J 10 8 6
South West North East
1 Dbl. 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


David WarheitJuly 17th, 2012 at 9:18 am

Let’s see: “Dealer: Neither”. Hmm, maybe there was a different kind of “auction” to determine dealer. And: “Vulernability: East”. Oh, I see, if west winds up as declarer, he only scores nonvulerable points, but if it’s east, well, he’s vulnerable!

bobby wolffJuly 17th, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Hi David,

The new way of indicating vulnerability and dealer seems to be unknown to you. Neither obviously means East is dealer and when only one direction, instead of two, is vulnerable a made game gets only a 400 bonus.

Wise up and get with it!

jim2July 17th, 2012 at 12:08 pm


“Yes, what seems to be the problem?”

“They’re making my head hurt again. Please make them stop.”

Iain ClimieJuly 17th, 2012 at 1:17 pm


Isn’t this a case of “Let he (or she) who is typographically perfect cast the first ston”?



bobby wolffJuly 17th, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Hi Iain,

No, because the stone thrower makes me vulnerable and I’m tired of dealing with it.

Not to mention that East is East and West is West and never the Mark shall meet.

clarksburgJuly 17th, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Mr Wolff said ” No, because the stone thrower makes me vulnerable and I’m tired of dealing with it”
I’m a regular everyday reader of this excellent and instructive blog; and I’m very tired of the picky sniping…often from the same one or two snipers.
Snipers; contribute something constructive, educational or otherwise useful; otherwise, go get a life.

Iain ClimieJuly 18th, 2012 at 9:32 am

Hi Clarksburg,

Any time you think my attempts at humour are getting too annoying, please say so – I suspect Mr. Wolff is overly polite here. Mind you, I made the same point as yours above with the “ston” comment.



bobby wolffJuly 18th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Hi Clarksburg and Iain,

I really do appreciate both of your loyalties, comments, overall environment, and above all our positive relationships.

I suspect David is really a very good, ethical human being who is merely trying to encourage more attention to detail (sometimes critical) and thus more accurate reporting on my part.

None of that above comment keeps me from basking in the limelight of your unconditional support.

Iain, humor, at least to me, makes the world go around, without which darkness sometimes descends. Please do not ever stop being yourself.