Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

Moral choices do not depend on personal preference and private decision but on right reason and, I would add, divine order.

Cardinal Basil Hume

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



South might simply have bid three no-trump at his second turn without exploring for a spade fit here. However, given his partner’s atypical honor structure, his choice worked out fine.

Against four spades West led the heart king, to the four, and a discouraging two from East. Now West led out the heart ace, which drew the seven, five, and queen. West then made the apparently natural play of shifting to the diamond jack, letting South win with the king. After drawing three rounds of trump ending in hand, declarer took dummy’s diamond honors, throwing a club from hand. He ruffed the fourth diamond in hand, East pitching a club, then discarded a club from dummy on the heart queen, East following with the eight.

South now decided that if East had begun life with four hearts, he might have pitched one on the fourth diamond, so he probably had no more hearts left. Instead of taking the club finesse, he threw East in with a trump, leaving him to lead into dummy’s ace-queen of clubs at trick 12.

The key to the finding the winning club shift at trick three was that East could have followed with the heart eight at trick two if he had wanted a switch to diamonds. The five should have suggested no preference or the lower ranking suit, clubs. Once you have signaled attitude or count on the first round of a suit, your choice between equivalent small cards may well constitute a suit preference signal.

Regardless of whether East intends his call to show a strong hand with diamonds, or the unbid suits, you are in a position to tell him he may have made a mistake. Redouble, announcing your side has the balance of high cards, and hope partner can raise you or take further appropriate action when the opponents bid on.


♠ K 8 7 6 3
 Q J 10
 K 4
♣ 10 9 6
South West North East
    1 Pass
1 ♠ Pass 1 NT Dbl.

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