Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, February 1st, 2014

To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace.

Morihei Ueshiba

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

* A weak two in either hearts or spades


These days your opponents will bid so many thin games that you need to defeat them whenever possible, or you will be at a severe disadvantage.

In the finals of the 2008 world championships between England and China (England sat North-South), West opened a multicolored two diamonds, showing a weak two-bid in either major, or various strong options. North passed and East pre-empted further, bidding three hearts. Three hearts was passed out and went three down, for 150 to England.

When England was East-West, the Chinese North doubled the two-diamond opening (showing a balanced 13-16), causing South to jump to three no-trump. If the Chinese made this, they would gain 10 IMPs; if they went down, England would gain at least six IMPs.

Against three no-trump, West, Heather Dhondy, led a heart won by dummy’s king. Declarer now played a club to her queen. Had West won this, the defenders could have cleared the hearts, but then declarer would have finessed a club safely into the East hand and guessed the diamond queen for her contract. West would do better to shift to spades, but declarer might still have come home.

However, Dhondy smoothly ducked the club queen, causing declarer to place the ace with East. So she next ran the club 10. East won the jack, cleared the hearts, and, in due course, West won her club ace and cashed three hearts to beat the game by two.

I could just about understand it if you passed this hand in first seat, since the heart king is not really pulling its full weight. But if you open the bidding, as I would, I much prefer opening one club, not one diamond. My plan would be to raise a one-spade response and bid one no-trump over a one-heart response (a singleton honor equating to two small trumps in support of partner if he insists on hearts).


♠ A 6 5
 K 5 3 2
♣ K 9 7 6 5
South West North East

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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


John StoreyFebruary 15th, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Hi Bobby – your column has disappeared again from the RSS feed the provides. I noticed that a whole bunch of new blog entries appeared at the same time as yours disappeared (eg Philip Alder’s column in the Times). Hope you’re well. Thanks, John

bobby wolffFebruary 15th, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Hi John:

Appreciate your interest. I am forwarding your message to to learn the problem.