Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Tip-Toe Thru the Tulips with Me.

Al Dubin

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


The North cards are difficult to evaluate at the second turn, but facing a response that shows five spades (you would have made a negative double with four spades), your partner took the slightly pushy position to jump to three spades, buoyed by the knowledge that he had no wasted values in hearts.

How will you play your contract of six spades when West accurately leads the heart 10?

You win with dummy’s heart ace of course, and must attempt to discard your heart loser on a minor-suit winner before playing on trump. Everyone follows to the ace and king of diamonds, but on the third round, East is mean enough to ruff the diamond queen with the trump three. You overruff with the four, cross to the club ace, and try your luck with the diamond 10. Again, East persists in his irritating defense by ruffing in with the seven. What now?

Again, you have no choice. You overruff with the eight and must now attempt to throw all three of dummy’s heart losers on your club K-Q-J. Will the club suit assist you by breaking 4-4? No, but your luck turns on the fourth round of clubs. You discard dummy’s last heart, and although East is out of clubs, he is finally out of small trumps and can only ruff in with the spade ace.

Now you can draw West’s last trump and ruff your heart in dummy whatever the defenders do.

Once you pass your partner's opening bid, you cannot have enough values to want to play no-trump. Accordingly you can bid two no-trump to get your partner to pick his better minor. It is a general principle that a limited hand that hasn't tried to play no-trump can't suddenly change its mind in response to a double. Such no-trump calls almost always suggest two places to play.


♠ 5
 10 2
 9 8 5 4 2
♣ 10 9 8 6 3
South West North East
1♠ Pass
Pass 2 Dbl. 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