Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

The hallmark of the conventional wisdom is acceptability. It has the approval of those to whom it is addressed.

J.K. Galbraith

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


In today's deal what should East do if North jumps to three spades at his first turn to speak? As three spades will go down at least one trick, the winning action for the defenders is undoubtedly to double — but only if your partner passes it out. If partner interprets the double as takeout, as he probably should, this will lead to a decent 5-3 fit in clubs rather than a shaky 4-3 fit in a red suit. Four clubs should be defeated on correct defense, but any other four-level contract by East-West will fare considerably worse. Plus 100 for East-West on this deal was worth a healthy matchpoint score, while plus 50 would have earned them a score of just above average.

However, where Geir Helgemo and Nathalie Frey were defending three spades doubled (North having made the tactical error of raising to two spades initially, then competing to three spades over three diamonds), Frey as West led a trump. When declarer drew three rounds of trump, she pitched clubs. Declarer now led a club to the queen and king, and Helgemo accurately shifted to hearts. The defenders cashed out the hearts, then played two more rounds of clubs. This forced declarer to lead diamonds for himself and go down 300.

Had the defenders continued clubs before leading hearts, declarer would have ruffed the third round of clubs and exited in hearts. That would have forced the defenders eventually to lead diamonds, eliminating declarer’s loser in that suit.

Your partner has suggested significant extras, probably with six diamonds and four hearts. You should bid three no-trump, fairly confident that if your club queen stands up, you are very likely to have nine tricks to run.


♠ J 8 6 2
 8 7 4
 A 7 2
♣ Q 6 3
South West North East
1 2♣
Pass Pass Dbl. Pass
2♠ Pass 3 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