Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Into the face of the young man… there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French.

P. G. Wodehouse

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

*hearts and a minor, 6-10


Benedicte Cronier, one of the world’s strongest woman players, stars in today’s deal from the 2016 European Championships. France were leading Croatia narrowly as this deal appeared.

South’s balanced hand influenced her to play three no-trump, but understandable as this might have been, four spades would have been easy by comparison, and had been bid and made by her opponents. So it gave Croatia a chance to pull the match out of the fire.

Had East played low at trick one when West led the diamond 10, declarer’s goose would have been cooked. Instead, East won her king and returned a low diamond, giving declarer the flimsiest of lifelines.

Cronier won the diamond return in dummy, then took the heart ace and led a low heart to her nine. That was the first of the slim chances she had to take. She next advanced the club jack from her hand, because she knew East had nine high cards in the red suits, so the club queen had to be to her left. She let it run when West resisted the temptation to cover, and next played a club to the king, cashed the spade ace and could return to hand with the club ace.

At this point she exited with the diamond queen from her hand. While East could win, and cash two more diamonds, she then had to lead a heart into declarer’s tenace. So Cronier had come to one spade and one diamond trick, together with three clubs and four hearts, for her contract.

The two most popular conventions to show two-suiters after the opponents open the bidding are the Unusual No-trump, and the Michaels Cuebid. Had East opened one club, a jump to two no-trump would show the red suits. After a one- spade opening, a cuebid of two spades shows this hand, which is at the minimum end of the range for what partner might expect – especially if you are vulnerable.


♠ 7
 Q 10 6 5 4
 A K 6 5 3
♣ 10 5
South West North East
      1 ♠

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