Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Be careful what you wish for; you may receive it.

W.W. Jacobs

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


Bidding is all about exchanging information with partner, but in bridge all this information is also available to the opponents. So, a good bidder is selective, telling partner what he needs to know, but keeping quiet when the information is more likely to be of use to the opponents.

East’s double here was really foolish. If his partner couldn’t lead the fourth suit without the double, then it would probably not be right anyway. Look at what actually happened.

West’s natural choice of lead, with such a good holding in declarer’s first suit, might well have been a trump, but East’s double deflected him and instead he chose the diamond 10, which ran to declarer’s ace. Declarer played the heart queen, won by East, who switched to a trump rather than cash the diamond king and set up dummy’s queen. Declarer won the trump shift in dummy, played a heart to his jack, a spade to dummy, cashed the heart king while discarding a diamond, ruffed a heart, and ruffed a club.

Declarer now played the winning heart from dummy. East had to ruff this, and declarer discarded a club. East now played the club ace, and declarer found a very nice maneuver when he discarded a diamond from dummy rather than ruff and endplay himself. East now had no option but to play a diamond, which declarer ran to dummy’s queen. That let him crossruff the last two tricks.

Be careful! You would like to cuebid to set up a game-force here, but many people would play a bid of two hearts as natural. A cuebid of two diamonds is unambiguously forcing and should get partner to bid a four-card spade suit if he has one. If he doesn't, you can head for three no-trump.


♠ Q 9 8 4
 Q J
 A 7
♣ Q J 9 7 3
South West North East
1 Dbl. 1

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


scoldedjimDecember 1st, 2012 at 1:10 pm

In the BWTA, what would a double by South mean at this point in the auction?

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 1st, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Hi Scoldedjim, (written by Bobby Wolff on Judy’s computer)

In the BWTA a double would be penalties for hearts, and suggest to partner that you, the doubler not only had a good enough heart holding to bid for yourself, but also enough high cards to freely bid.

Since some partnerships do not choose to discuss such details, the mention in the column merely suggested that bidding hearts over RHO’s bid of 1 heart might be confusing, wherein a bid of LHO’s diamond suit would be less ambiguous and therefore show a good hand, hoping to get to the right game contract or at the very least, compete for the part score.

The lesson to be learned is that in order to achieve higher level success, a partnership needs to thoroughly discuss the meanings of bids, particularly so in competitive situations, which often occur while playing against worthy opponents.

scoldedjimDecember 1st, 2012 at 3:47 pm

So, responsive-style doubles only apply when RHO raises LHO after partner’s double? Too bad.

It would seem very useful to have a bid here that shows competitive values and holdings in both unbid suits.

Jane ADecember 1st, 2012 at 11:45 pm

My partners and I play that a double by south in the BWTA hands is responsive and would show values and the black suits, so Bobby’s suggestion that a double would be to show hearts was a new twist for me. Just points out how important it is to discuss what bids could/should mean, especially when playing with someone new. So much to talk about! Would a two spade bid by south promise five? It would show ten or more points generally speaking, but can it be bid with four spades?


Lurpoa BegijnDecember 9th, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Indeed,meaning of cue-bids and double are part of the same choice.