Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, October 30th, 2014

It is not enough that a thing be possible for it to be believed.


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

*Hearts and a minor


When the opponents open a weak-two bid and your partner doubles, how do you show this South hand? The answer is that if playing simple methods, a jump to three spades is the best you can do. If you play that a call of two no-trump would be Lebensohl (weak with either minor or invitational with four spades) then a direct jump to three spades would show a five-card suit.

At our featured table South showed his values and bid his spades directly, and North quite reasonably took a try at the slam. With the duplication of shapes, South found himself in a challenging spot, but he was equal to the task.

After West led the club three, declarer won the king and drew trumps. Then he cashed the diamond king and ace, crossed to hand with the club ace, and ruffed his last diamond. After taking his remaining club winner, South had reached the critical moment in the deal. With hearts 5-2, what was the likely lie of the heart honors? Declarer decided that West was likely to hold both heart honors — but that additionally East might not defend correctly if he had the doubleton king.

A low heart was led from dummy, and when East unconcernedly followed with a small heart, declarer put in the heart 10 from hand. West took the trick and returned a low heart. Declarer ran it to his hand and claimed 12 tricks when East played small.

Every partnership ought to agree whether in such auctions fourth hand's pass over the redouble should be a suggestion of playing there, or should indicate nothing to say. My experience is that it is not infrequent to be able to pass here for penalty. So with a hand where you have no points but a long suit you must bid your suit at once. Thus, bid four clubs with as much enthusiasm as you can muster.


♠ 8 3 2
 8 3
 9 7 5 3
♣ 9 8 7 5
South West North East
Pass 3 Dbl. Rdbl.

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


Iain ClimieNovember 13th, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Hi Bobby,

Well played South, although I can’t help feeling most west players would have led the HK. Still, he brought home the slam.

What would you have led here, please and why?



Bobby WolffNovember 13th, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Hi Iain,

Clearly, the king of hearts, with no 2nd choice, although others are pessimists and convince themselves that whenever they lead the king from king queen the jack (third) appears in dummy opposite the ace with declarer.

Those wives tales are, at least to me, totally illusory, but convincing others of such, is not worth the aggravation.

Of course, this specific holding was different, but with the same result, however all logical roads lead to the same death.

In conclusion and making the learning even more difficult, at least as I see it, when the king of hearts brings home the bacon we tend to forget about what worked, since “who wouldn’t lead the king of hearts”?

Sigmund Freud might explain it differently and with specific emphasis, but I happen to think, the same general idea.

Iain ClimieNovember 13th, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Thanks Bobby, some interesting thoughts in there. Pessimists, of course say “when I’m right nobody remembers, when wrong , nobody forgets”.


Bobby WolffNovember 14th, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Hi Iain,

An easy solution.

Hire a better public relations firm and, of course, never be wrong!