Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.

Mahatma Gandhi

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

*Showing three hearts


When the US met Thailand in the semi-finals of the 2003 Junior World Championships, they conducted a flawless defense against four spades here.

West’s double at his second turn was support, showing precisely three hearts. A raise would have guaranteed four trump.

West led the heart queen, which East overtook with the king to fire back a club to declarer’s ace. After cashing the spade ace and leading the spade jack to the queen, declarer ruffed a heart and exited in clubs. Though West put up the jack, East overtook again with the queen and continued with a heart, ruffed by declarer. South could not do better than cross to dummy again in spades and lead the diamond jack. East kept up the good work by covering with the queen, and declarer was one down, losing the diamond king to West’s ace, with the diamond l0 still to come. Well done.

For the US John Kranyak was given a chance by the defense, and took full advantage.

West led the heart queen and played another heart when left on lead. Declarer ruffed, played a spade to the queen, ruffed a heart, played a spade to the nine and ruffed another heart. Then he drew trump, cashed the club ace, and exited in clubs, won by East.

With hearts and clubs eliminated, East could do no better than return a small diamond, but declarer guessed correctly to play low from hand, and was home when West’s ace fell on empty air.

The simple choice would be to rebid your six-card suit, and many people would opt for that. My preference would be to raise to two hearts. Any time you have an unbalanced hand with decent three-card support, you should not rule out raising partner. Sophisticated partnerships have methods after the raise to work out the nature of opener’s support.


♠ 7
 Q J 7
 A 10 7
♣ K J 8 6 5 4
South West North East
1 ♣ Pass 1 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


Michael BeyroutiSeptember 9th, 2015 at 12:03 pm

This is the one boo-boo i’ll allow myself to pick on… turned out sooo funny… lol… can’t resist… Kranyak drew trump in three rounds!… Eddie Kantar wouldn’t have said it any better…

bobby wolffSeptember 9th, 2015 at 3:54 pm

Hi Michael,

Like drawing blood, Kranyak used his entries wisely and while only drawing, after the first round, his own trump got the job done and then guessed the diamonds (not so difficult when the AK of hearts were already known to be in the responder’s hand).

Yes Eddie Kantar’s humor would have nailed Kranyak’s motive.

Thanks for your comment.

Iain ClimieSeptember 9th, 2015 at 10:34 pm

Hi Bobby,

Nice play hand today and a warning not to be on auto-pilot when defending. Either east should overtake at F1 or west should switch whhenn pard shows length. The bidding hand flags up an interesting point though.

Some players argue I had xyz so I bid this. Others regard bidding as an exchange of info heading towards a sensible final spot. I think the latter id far more sensible and is suggested by today’s comments. I’ve often caused consternation by playing in a 3-4 fit after say 1D (1S) X (P) by bidding 2H on a good 3 cad holding with a ruffing value in spades but it is the final spot that counts not excessive pedantry in getting there. Shoot me down if J’m wrong!



bobby wolffSeptember 9th, 2015 at 11:10 pm

Hi Iain,

Perhaps J’m is wrong but you’re definitely not. and for your apt description of how to stay on track in the bidding.

All partners, except those who suffer from lack of confidence, love to be supported and a simple raise, when given a choice, is an excellent method to do so.

Especially when holding 3 decent trumps, a side singleton and a club suit which often can be set up during the play

Assuming partner accepts your raise, and then jumps to game in hearts what, you may ask, do you think of his chances.

Not everyone will agree with me, but nevertheless I’ll estimate the success rate of his taking 10+ tricks at around 80%. Remember, since he knows you may be raising with only 3, he will almost always have 5+, otherwise he would undoubtedly explore other final contracts. Also I am used to playing with relatively high class partners, who through the years have spoiled me with their adept declarer’s play.

All I can do is compare them with all who comment on our site, and, of course, with them at the helm I stand by the percentage I quoted, although since some of them may demand 4 trumps for me to raise, they may jump to what may turn out to be the wrong game contract.

However, when the post-mortem on that hand ends, it will then be clear what to expect next time, and besides since some of the native languages which would be spoken may not be understood, especially the expletives, it may take a little longer.

You certainly have my permission to respond to a negative double while only holding 3 of the key suit. However, then in many cases. we will have some discussing to do about next time finding the right long suit partial.