Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Minorities… are almost always in the right.

Revd. Sydney Smith

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


The NEC trophy normally held in February, took place last year in April, so that the international field could then play a week later in the Yeh Bros tournament at the same venue.

In the final of the NEC event, Mikhail Krasnosselski for the winners made a very nice play here. He reached five clubs doubled, and after the lead of the heart king, he knew that diamonds rated to be 7-0.

One reasonable plan now would be to cash two rounds of clubs ending in dummy, and take the spade ace to discard a heart loser. Then he would lead a diamond to the nine, and hope the defenders could not engineer a diamond ruff. This line works today, but would fail if South were 6-4-0-3, perhaps somewhat more likely than his actual hand, given the auction. Krasnosselski found a better solution: He won the heart ace, ran five trumps, then led a diamond to the queen and ace. That forced East to win and return a diamond or spade to dummy, letting declarer discard one heart loser and then take the diamond finesse.

In the other room four spades had gone down one, when North did not raise clubs and South could not bid on to the five-level on his own, so Russia gained 10 IMPs. Credit Sjoert Brink, North, for his three-club call here; raising two-level overcalls encourages partner when he has bid with a good suit (and will teach him to have one next time if he has come in with an insufficient excuse).

In this sequence the two-club call should be forcing, suggesting some kind of real extra values though not necessarily a heart fit. Whatever partner has, you can show your hand by jumping to three diamonds, suggesting a real fit for diamonds, together with extras in the context of being a passed hand, and leave the rest to him.


♠ A 8 7
 9 8 7 6 5
 Q 10 2
♣ A 7
South West North East
Pass 1♣ 1 Pass
1 Pass 2♣ 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Shantanu RastogiApril 29th, 2014 at 10:46 am

Dear Mr Wolff

In BWTA is 2NT over 2C an option ? After 3D over 2C would partner explore 3NT then by bidding 3H which shouldnt now be taken as cue bid as slam is remote possibilty in this bidding sequence ?

best regards

Shantanu Rastogi

Iain ClimieApril 29th, 2014 at 11:00 am

Hi Bobby,

You said that north didn’t raise clubs in the other room but couldn’t he have doubled if the auction started as shown? Then south can push on and should do. The contract is rather dependent on hearts being the way they are or perhaps east having 10x.



bobby wolffApril 29th, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Hi Shantanu,

Yes, I think a bid of 2NT is very close to, if not even more descriptive, than a jump to 3 diamonds.

Perhaps technically 3 diamonds is superior since it also enables a final contract of 5 diamonds, but since clubs is the opponents suit, partner is not able to cue bid clubs, looking for 3NT, but perhaps a 3 spade bid would get the desired NT call from partner.

In any event 2NT appears to me the winning bid of “running toward daylight”.

Since I do not know, nor does anyone, exactly what hand was held by

bobby wolffApril 29th, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Hi Shantanu,

I cut myself off in mid sentence. Please add
“North”, I cannot be sure what he should venture over 3 diamonds, since a bid of 3 hearts should show belated heart support, perhaps Ax.

bobby wolffApril 29th, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Hi Iain,

Yes, a double of 2 spades by North might be played as a TO with North crying out for more description from his partner.

However South’s void in spades may suggest to him that his partner had the spades necessary to punish his RHO and was therefore for penalty. With such not discussed bids, do disasters make.

A possible caveat for non experienced partnerships to discuss and incorporate might be that a low level double in competition around the table is always for TO and never for penalty since West’s bid is forcing and even holding excellent spades is no reason to warn the opponents of the impending horrible break.

“Live to fight another day” might be a good strategy to employ with relatively new partnerships.