Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Surprised by joy — impatient as the wind.

William Wordsworth

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


Today's deal came from the knockout stages of the Seniors event in the Asia Pacific games last fall in Fukuoka, Japan. The deal shown swung the match — but not in the way you might expect.

Where Hirata Yamada and Kyoko Ohno were West and East respectively, East’s decision to pass one spade let her opponents back into the auction, and East-West finished up defending three no-trump. Yamada led a low club to the first trick – an interesting choice, because partner was marked with club shortage. Declarer won in dummy and led a diamond to the jack, queen and ace. Yamada now accurately shifted to the spade 10, and declarer was now dead. He covered with the jack, and East won and cleared spades. West was sure now to get in with the club ace and could then cash out the spades. Down one for 50 looks like a good result for East-West.

However, in the companion room there was no easy way into the East-West auction when East raised to two spades instead of passing one spade. After a diamond lead, declarer Hideo Togawa ruffed two diamonds and a club in dummy and two hearts in hand. Then he led a third heart and played safe by ruffing high, following a guaranteed line for eight tricks. So he finished up making 110.

Accordingly, Yamada’s textbook play had held the loss on the board to 2 IMPs — and an eventual loss in the match by just one IMP.

You have a pretty good hand for a simple one-no-trump response to an overcall, but what are the options? A jump to two no-trump should show a full opening bid, while a cue-bid almost guarantees support for partner. Since you have no suit you can voluntarily introduce, bid one no-trump. It is acceptable to have full values for your bidding once in a while.


♠ 9 5
 K Q 6 3
 K Q 10 8
♣ J 9 6
South West North East
1 1♠ 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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Patrick CheuOctober 1st, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Hi Bobby,good job,West did not lead the three of spades on T1,the 10S switch happens to be right as North held AJx,and not South’s 1NT. Almost impossible to get to 3NT,had East raise to 2S..In BWTA,a jump to 2NT is 13/14,now 1NT is 8-12?Do you play it differently?regards-Patrick.

Bobby WolffOctober 1st, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Hi Patrick,

Yes, bridge has many variations with the constants being against blind leads and although aggressiveness works more often than passivity, it is almost always preferable to make the opponents play 1st and 3rd to a trick allowing your side to play 2nd and 4th.

No, I play that particular jump to 2NT as you suggest and not differently.