Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 16th, 2015

‘Ay, but you know we must return good for evil.’
‘That may be a mistake in the translation.’

Sir John Vanbrugh

W North
Both ♠ 7 5 2
 10 8 6 5
 A K J 4
♣ J 4
West East
♠ A Q 6 3
 10 7 6
♣ A K Q 9 7
♠ J 10 9 4
 4 3 2
 9 8 5 3 2
♣ 10
♠ K 8
 A K Q J 9
♣ 8 6 5 3 2
South West North East
  1 ♣ Pass Pass
1 1 ♠ 3 * Pass
4 All pass    



At the Dyspeptics Club the play and defense frequently take second place to the repartee and insults that take place in the post mortem. The club has been considering selling ringside seats, but they fear that the language might be unsuitable for people of nervous disposition.

Today’s deal was the exception to the rule that the players generally performed at something below the highest level. To start with, North used a piece of delicate modern science to get to game. His jump to three diamonds, by a hand that couldn’t act over one club, showed heart fit and a diamond suit. This makes perfect sense: you can’t have a single-suited diamond hand and not be able to act with it at your first turn, can you?

Against South’s four hearts, West began by leading the club king and queen. It would have been easy for East to sit back and wait for his partner to cash out, perhaps discarding the spade jack to clarify his holding in that suit. But the diamonds were clearly threatening to provide discards for declarer’s spades. So East ruffed the second club and shifted to spades, letting West cash out for down one.

At the end of the deal East leaned forward, perhaps expecting a small acknowledgment from his partner. Instead, West smiled consolingly and told East not to worry about ruffing his winner, even if it had cost an undertrick. At that point the trouble started…

A simple one today. Over your partner’s invitational jump to two no-trump you should continue by bidding three diamonds. This is forcing and suggests precisely this distribution, and lets partner decide what game is best for your side. It is a good rule of thumb that you cannot invite facing an invitation. The only way to stay low is to pass – which of course you would not consider here.


♠ A Q 6 3
 10 7 6
♣ A K Q 9 7
South West North East
1 ♣ Pass 1 Pass
1 ♠ Pass 2 NT 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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Peter PengJuly 30th, 2015 at 6:07 pm

hi Mr.Wolff;

I had a hand yesterday in third seat

Partner opened 1D, RHO overcalled 2C

I held, in SHDC suit order;


I bid 2H, and partner bid 3H, with KJx in H, finishing the auction.

He had AQTx

LHO led a C. I went down, after guessing the QH wrong. Could have, should have guessed it right.
I lost 1S, 1H, 2D and 1C (I QH guessed in RHO’s hand after LHO showed up with KD). Partner had KQxx in spades.

Partner said that I showed 10+ by bidding, and that my JC was worthless, so I had only 8HCP.

He said that I should have doubled to show 4-4 in H and S.

I know that that would have worked out, as I would pass 2S by partner.

However, I thought that a 4-5 S-H hand is different, and that with 4-3 in H and S partner could have bid 2S,

intending to correct to 3H if I could not accept 2S. Also, I thought that a DBL by me would show more points.

Anyway, I think we are both right, can it be?

Thank you for your consideration

jim2July 31st, 2015 at 12:39 am

I am not Our Host, but I would have doubled and been prepared to consider bidding 2H over pard’s 2D if it came back around.

Peter H PengJuly 31st, 2015 at 4:02 am

hi Jim

but 2D rebid would show 6. would it not?

it would also show a minimum, I think.

I would pass 2D.

Bobby WolffJuly 31st, 2015 at 4:36 am

Hi Jim2 & Peter,

Yes, I agree with a double, for two reasons, about the normal strength while 2 hearts is forcing and has a wide range.

I would probably bid 2 hearts over a 2 diamond rebid, but could accept a pass. Very close, but when in doubt be flexible and bidding 2 hearts, at least keeps it open.

Partner could have s. xx, h. KQJ, d. AKQxxx, c. xx and then partner will bid the heart game, depending on the 3-2 diamond break. BTW, I also sometimes believe pigs can fly.

Peter. there is nothing really wrong with being in 3 hearts down l, especially at matchpoints while trying for a larger part score. However, any plus score rates to be above average, particularly so when guessing obscure cards becomes necessary for success.

In conclusion, an immediate 2 heart bid instead of double is pushing it a bit, and may, particularly if LHO then raises to 3 clubs, likely, it may prevent an 8 card spade fit from being found.

However, no harm, no foul on this hand only just judgment.

Peter H PengJuly 31st, 2015 at 11:36 pm

hi all

I appreciate the distinction between foul and judgment!