Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

The Government are carrying an immense weight. Untold treasures are in their hands. They are doing the very best they can. Don't badger them.

Abraham Lincoln

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


One of my regular correspondents is Sally Brock from England, who has been a regular on the national women's team for 30 years or so. (She started playing international bridge when in her twenties.) She has now formed a solid partnership with Nicola Smith, and they spearheaded the women's team that finished fourth in the recent world championships, then went on to win second place in the Mind Sports Games in China.

Here, Sally was declarer in three no-trump on a diamond lead to the jack and king. Back came a diamond to dummy’s ace, East pitching a middle spade. Brock took the heart finesse next, as the 10 appeared from East. The heart was won by West for a club switch. East won this with king, Sally following with her small card instinctively, then realizing she had forgotten to unblock her 10 — which would have made her task of endplaying East to lead another club much easier.

Declarer still managed to recover by playing East for both high spades. She cashed all of her red-suit winners, discarding a club from dummy. If East came down to two spades and three clubs, South would build a heart trick. If she came down to two clubs and three spades, Brock would take her two club winners ending in dummy and lead a spade toward her jack, collecting one more trick one way or another.

Once you bid one no-trump to show 6-10 points, denying a major, your partner won't play you for the earth whatever you do. Here you should double. This is NOT penalties — how could it be? It shows a maximum hand and suitability for defense.


♠ Q 7 2
 8 6 5
 A 10 7
♣ A 9 7 5
South West North East
1 Pass
1 NT 2 Pass 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


John StoreyAugust 1st, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Dear Mr Wolff

Is this an opening bid? My partner and I play a forcing club system where all opening bids exept 1C promise only 11 HCP. 1NT is 12-15.

K 10 6 4 3
10 5
A Q 9 8 3 2

I passed this in 4th chair after three passes thinking we would go plus but partner passed with this:

J 10 7
KQJ 10 3

What do you think?

bobby wolffAugust 1st, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Hi John,

Yes, the 5-2-6-0 is definitely an opening bid, especially so in 4th seat. The logical reason for the emphasis being in the 4th seat is that whenever there are 3 passes to the 4th seat player, the three passers figure to have been 9-11 HCP’s and quite often balanced hands which is why no one has opened the bidding.

Partner should not be blamed for passing, although he had the playing strength to open, but his suit, being the lowest ranking one, offered little hope to exclude the opponents from joining in the bidding battle.

Let us hope that the bidding may go:
North East South West
P P P 1D
P 1H P 1S
P 1NT P 2D
P 3D All Pass, on the average making about 9 3/4 tricks-Not a top, but above average and better than passing it out.

Since bridge is correctly (IMO) is thought of as a bidder’s game, it works better to, when faced with a choice, be aggressive.

Note that West’s 2nd rebid only rebid diamonds, not rebidding spades (to show 5-6), simply because of the lack of beef within the hand. Do not ever let anyone convince you that bridge is an exact science rather than an art, simply because it is not.

Good luck and thanks for writing.