Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

'Oh! Love,' they said, 'is King of Kings,
And Triumph is his Crown.
Earth fades in flame before his wings,
And Sun and Moon bow down.’

Rupert Brooke

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

*transfer to spades



Today's deal from the 2011 Lederer requires no skill in the play, since I am confident every reader of my column would find a way to take 13 tricks. But bidding to the grand slam is another matter. Let's take a look at the sole pair who not only managed it, but found their way to seven no-trump

There is a bit of a myth that Zia Mahmood is a law unto himself in the auction, but he showed that he could bid constructively on this hand. However, it was David Gold’s judgment that made it all possible. The opening no-trump showed 15-17, but the aces and kings, coupled with the two four-card suits and the builders in the long-suits mean that this was an accurate assessment of the hand’s true worth.

When Zia transferred to spades, Gold re-evaluated his hand, breaking the transfer with a jump to three spades. He did have another sequence to show a suitable hand for spades with a maximum in high-cards, so he was limited by failing to do that.

After two cuebids, Zia bid Roman Keycard Blackwood for spades, finding the two missing aces, then asked for specific kings that had not been previously cued. East (who had already showed the diamond king) now showed the heart king, and Zia thought he could count six spades, three hearts, two diamonds and two clubs, and indeed was able to claim the grand slam when spades broke 2-1. This won the pair the award for the best-bid hand.

There is no need to commit the hand to four spades yet. Three no-trump, or even a part-score, may be the highest scoring spot. Start with a two -diamond cuebid to show a spade raise. You can always bid game later when you have found out more about the hand.


♠ A 10 8 2
 K 7
 K 8 3
♣ A 10 8 5
South West North East
1 1♠ Dbl.

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