Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, January 30th, 2016

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

Scott Adams

S North
N-S ♠ A
 K 6 5
 A 5 4
♣ K 10 9 8 7 4
West East
♠ J 10 9 8 3 2
 Q 10 9 8
♣ J 5 2
♠ 7 5
 J 4
 K Q 9 8 7 2
♣ A 6 3
♠ K Q 6 4
 A 7 3 2
 J 10 6 3
♣ Q
South West North East
1 2 ♠ 3 ♣ Pass
3 NT All pass    


Today’s deal shows how an expert can make the most of his assets, by appreciating the full value of his spot cards. This deal came up on the second day of a major pair game in the US. It was common for North-South to play in no-trump here, and South typically ended as declarer in three no-trump, against which West might have been tempted to lead a heart, having bid spades but not having received any cooperation from East.

However, where I was defending, my spade lead let declarer win in dummy. A club to the queen held, and now when hearts failed to break declarer could set up a second diamond winner, but that was only his eighth trick.

Defeating three no-trump scored our side well, but not spectacularly so, since the NorthSouth cards are not easy to bid to a sensible spot. But having reached three no-trump, I thought our opponents should have found the winning line. After winning the spade ace at trick one, declarer should lead the club king at trick two, smothering his own queen, and ensuring he can establish clubs with the help of the two entries to dummy that remain.

The key difference between taking the club king and leading low to the queen is that declarer remains in dummy if the opponents duck their ace in the first case, but not in the second. That saves an entry to the board – which happens to be critical today, when the club jack does not fall in two rounds.

Having opened two diamonds – an action I wholeheartedly agree with at vulnerable or in second seat – you are far too strong to rebid a discouraging three diamonds. I’d invent a second suit of clubs, feeling that the call should not guarantee four of the suit, but would be consistent with a hand of this nature.


♠ 7 5
 J 4
 K Q 9 8 7 2
♣ A 6 3
South West North East
2 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


W. B. Daniel IIIFebruary 14th, 2016 at 12:36 pm

In the bidding problem I would open 1D with this hand because it has two QT. is a 7 loser hand and has a convenient rebid of 2D. I know people do not like to open the bidding with 10 points but if the bidding reached the 3 level or even possibly the 4 level because of partner’s subsequent actions over my rebid of 2D, I would feel comfortable. I realize you ae giving up an opportunity to preempt the majors but feel that showing 2 quick is more important.

bobby wolffFebruary 14th, 2016 at 10:52 pm

Hi W. B.,

Yes, and holding both the KQ of one suit instead of different suits makes it a more powerful offensive hand.

However, when being vulnerable and being fortunate enough to be playing weak 2 diamond opening bids (at least on this hand) why forego that opportunity to do so. If not playing weak 2 diamond openings then the talk about opening 1 diamond or merely passing (disdaining the possible suicidal choice of opening 3), becomes a valid discussion.

For books (bridge teaching) I would suggest adding the 10 of diamonds instead of a small one in order to classify it as the logical choice for a vulnerable 2 diamond opening, and if not playing it such, then to slightly prefer to instead venture 1 diamond (somewhat for the same reasoning as yours), but only as an optional choice with pass also an acceptable pick.