Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, August 25th, 2012

There is nothing stable in the world; uproars your only music.

John Keats

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


At last year's Lederer Invitational Teams, held in London, two Souths reached the pushy four hearts doubled. Each defending pair had a chance to defeat the game, but both fell at a late hurdle.

Against John Salisbury, West led the diamond king. Declarer won and exited with the club queen, won by East, who naturally enough led the diamond jack. Salisbury covered, and West had to discard to beat the contract. When he ruffed and exited with a club, Salisbury could ruff and run the heart queen, covered with the king and ace. Now South had just enough entries to establish the long club and play to ruff a diamond to dummy. Then he could cash the winning clubs to dispose of his losing spades for plus-590.

At another table, after the same first two tricks, East, David Burn, did extremely well by winning his club ace and shifting to the spade five instead of leading the diamond jack. Now declarer, Zia Mahmood, knew that the spade finesse was hopeless, so he put in the eight. West won with the nine, and now exited with a spade, fatally, giving declarer 10 tricks. A club would have been equally unsuccessful here — West gets endplayed, forced to lead a spade or allow the long club to be developed. However, West did have an escape, albeit one that is very hard to find at the table. He could have exited with a small heart, playing his partner for the trump nine, after which declarer has no way home.

Your partner has shown a powerful hand with his cuebid. Since you virtually denied a four-card major with your first bid, you can bid two hearts now to show your values and your three-card suit. This will let your partner know where you live and he can tell you whether he has one major, both majors, or club support.


♠ 7 4
 A 5 2
 7 6 4
♣ K 7 5 4 3
South West North East
1 Dbl. 1 NT
2♣ 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


jim2September 8th, 2012 at 12:53 pm

On the BWTA, how would South have bid the same hand that was 1-4-2-6?

bobby wolffSeptember 8th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Hi Jim2,

Finally a relatively easy answer, which is not the norm with your poignant questions.

A jump to 3 hearts would be called for over partner’s 2nd round cue bid and after his TO double, once South opted for only 2 clubs with 1-4-2-6.

The following expert bridge caveat seems to always apply: “Someone’s hand never stays good or bad, but rather, it changes in relation to his previous bidding”, simply meaning that once the initial response is conservative, a very good hand is now held and that quality must be shown the 2nd time and, of course, vice versa.

By that method, partner is able to judge the partnership’s worth and therefore most time’s final level, leaving only strain up for grabs.