Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Have no truck with first impulses as they are always generous ones.

Comte de Montrond

E North
None ♠ K 9 7
 Q 10 9
 Q 5 4 3
♣ J 8 7
West East
♠ Q 8 3 2
 8 7
 J 10 7
♣ Q 10 9 4
♠ J 10 6 5
 K J 6
 A K 6
♣ 5 3 2
♠ A 4
 A 5 4 3 2
 9 8 2
♣ A K 6
South West North East
      1 ♣ *
1 NT Pass 2 ♣ Pass
2 Pass 2 NT All pass

*two plus clubs


At the Cap Gemini tournament in 1998 one of the contending pairs were Krzysztof Martens and Marek Szymanowski of Poland. Szymanowski is a very tricky opponent, and he produced an excellent false-card against the Hacketts.

After Szymanowski had opened a Polish Club with the East cards, showing clubs or a balanced hand in the 12-14 range, possibly with as few as two clubs, Jason Hackett elected to overcall a strong no-trump, suppressing his five-card major.

As a result he found himself in two no-trump, when his partner Justin Hackett produced an invitational sequence via Stayman. Martens did well to lead spades, the two suggesting a four-card suit, and declarer won the opening lead and played a heart to the nine — and Szymanowski took it with the king!

Then East cleared the spades, and Jason, not unnaturally, repeated the finesse in hearts, allowing the defense a second heart trick. Together with two spade winners and three diamond tricks, that meant two off. Note that if Szymanowski wins the heart jack at trick two, declarer uses dummy’s spade entry to finesse East out of the heart king, and makes eight tricks in comfort.

In retrospect, you might ask yourself if declarer was right to fall for the false-card. Declarer knows East has four spades; the only time the finesse would be necessary is if declarer had eight cards in the minors – which would have to be a 4=1=3=5 pattern or East would have opened one diamond. You make the call!

Had East not responded, the range of your no-trump call would be wide. Your partner’s bid would be a gametry, showing extras and long clubs, and you’d be tempted to bid on, perhaps by raising clubs. As it is, you have shown 7-10 already, and I think his two club call suggests an alternative strain, perhaps with extra shape, not high cards. With a minimum, I would simply pass now.


♠ K 9 7
 Q 10 9
 Q 5 4 3
♣ J 8 7
South West North East
  1 Dbl. 1 ♠
1 NT 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact

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