Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, February 13th, 2017

The unexamined life is not worth living.


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


South’s two club opening is based on the fact that his 22-count should be upgraded, rather than downgraded into a two no-trump opener. His combined honors (and great controls plus absence of jacks) make this a clear choice.

North-South should have a Stayman auction after the two no-trump rebid to allow South to play three no-trump. Just as you can check for the major-suit fits over the one no-trump opening, so the three club bid over the two no-trump opening or rebid allows you to find your fits, one level higher.

On the diamond queen lead, there is no good reason to win the trick – maybe the opponents will shift? When the defenders continue diamonds, South must win and try to find a way to turn eight tricks into nine.

The right technique is to cash the top three clubs at once — if the suit splits, all your problems are over. When West shows length, you must turn your attention to hearts, but you need to be careful with the entry position. Take one top heart from hand, and then go over to dummy’s ace. When West shows out you have a marked finesse of the heart 10 for your ninth trick. If you play the ace then king of hearts, you find out about the bad break in hearts but the absence of entries to the board mean you can no longer get to dummy to take the marked finesse.

This double carries no conventional meaning, as far as I am aware. It simply suggests that your partner thinks the contract is going down, so you have no reason to do anything other than lead your systemic small spade, whether you play fourth highest or third and fifth leads. Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar.


♠ J 9 8 2
 J 2
 K 9 6 4
♣ Q 8 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♠ Dbl.
3 ♠ Dbl. Pass 4
Pass Pass Dbl. All 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