Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

As I know more of mankind I expect less of them, and am ready now to call a man a good man upon easier terms than I was formerly.

Samuel Johnson

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


It is unusual if there is no Zia coup to report from a tournament in which he is participating. At the 2008 Buffet Bridge Cup he did not let us down.

The hand is from the Individual, and the scoring was by Point-a-Board. That meant that overtricks and undertricks were just as important as bidding to the best contract. In turn, this led to players going for the jugular.

A word on the auction: Nowadays many players introduce a major before a minor, even when the minor is stronger — or even longer — on hands worth just one bid. That is why Zia preferred one spade to one diamond as his initial response.

The no-trump game can be beaten by a heart lead. The defenders can set up hearts before a spade trick can be established. However, since North was marked with a singleton diamond at most, there was little reason for West to look further for a lead. The diamond four went to the two and king, and now nine tricks are available if the ace is played. But Zia ducked, following with a deceptive diamond five!

A heart return would still have seen the defense win out. But East saw no reason to switch, given the relative strengths of dummy’s red suits, so he returned a diamond to the 10 and queen. Fully taken in, West continued with diamonds rather than cashing out spades, enabling Zia to wrap up an overtrick to secure the full point.

Your choices are to raise spades to whatever level you think appropriate, to cuebid in hearts to show a limit raise, or to jump in diamonds. This last call in a competitive auction should be a fit-jump suggesting precisely this amount of spade support and a source of tricks in diamonds. So it would be my choice.


♠ Q 10 7 3
 A J 10 5 3
♣ Q 8 3
South West North East
1 1♠ 2♣

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