Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, March 17th, 2017

I have come to the conclusion, after many years of sometimes sad experience, that you cannot come to any conclusion at all.

Vita Sackville-West

S North
None ♠ Q 5 3 2
 K 7 4 2
 9 4
♣ K J 4
West East
♠ J 10 9
 A J 10 8 3
 Q 7
♣ 10 6 5
♠ K 8 7 6
 Q 9 6
 K 10 2
♣ Q 3 2
♠ A 4
 A J 8 6 5 3
♣ A 9 8 7
South West North East
1 1 Dbl. 2
3 All pass    


The deals this week come from last year’s spring nationals at Reno. Bart Bramley reported this deal to the Daily Bulletin, where his opponent in the Vanderbilt Knockout Teams round-of-16 match had made a very thoughtful play.

Both tables had played in three diamonds, but in one room (where East had simply raised to two hearts) declarer misguessed the location of the club queen and went one down.

On the auction shown, Lew Stansby as East had shown 10-11 points or so by his cuebid raise, and Bramley led the spade jack to the queen, king and ace. Declarer, Poon Hua, played a heart next, and Bramley took his ace to cash the spade 10, and continued with the spade nine ruffed by South.

Instead of playing for a miracle in diamonds, declarer elected to lead out ace and another diamond, putting West on play. Technically West should play his partner for the queen-nine of clubs by leading a club, but declarer’s line had suggested this would not work, and that leading a club would solve a guess for him. So Bramley exited with a heart instead.

Declarer won dummy’s king, pitching a club, then trumped a heart in hand, and guessed extremely well to play a club to the king and lead dummy’s last heart. East pitched his spade, so declarer ruffed and exited to East with his last trump.

In the two-card ending East had to lead a club round to dummy’s jack, for declarer’s ninth trick.

This auction might confuse the non-expert, since if the opponents had not bid, North’s jump shift would be game forcing. But this is not a jump shift; it is a jump in response to your major-showing double. North should have four spades in the 13-14 range (with extras and say a 4-1-3-5 pattern, he would perhaps bid three spades as a strong invite). Equally, with a game-forcing hand, he would have advanced with a cuebid. You have a minimum, so must pass now.


♠ Q 5 3 2
 K 7 4 2
 9 4
♣ K J 4
South West North East
    1 ♣ 1
Dbl. 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