Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 13th, 2017

When constabulary duty’s to be done,
A policeman’s lot is not a happy one.

W. S. Gilbert

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


The system in use at the Dyspeptics Club rubber game include transfer responses to one no-trump. So when South picked up his usual collection of high cards and opened one no-trump, North could look with favor on his aces and kings and transfer to spades, followed by a quantitative jump to four no-trump. That was a sensible valuation of his cards. South, who had never met a 16-count he didn’t like, leapt to the spade slam, and there they were. For the record, to set spades as trump then use Blackwood, start with a Texas transfer at the four level.

At the table the play matched the speed of the bidding but not the accuracy. South won the second round of hearts, then played three rounds of clubs, ruffing in hand as West pitched a diamond. Then he tried the spade queen and jack, deciding not to overtake because of the sight of East’s spade nine on the first round. He barely had time to pat himself on his back when West ruffed the second diamond, and down went the contract.

South’s protestations of being born under an unlucky star cut no ice with North – who knew how many points that player was normally dealt. But there was a second reason too; can you see it?

South should have cashed one round of trumps, then the diamond ace and king, before ruffing the club in hand. Once that passes off peacefully, declarer can unblock in trumps then safely ruff a diamond to dummy to complete the drawing of trump.

Even though you expect the opponents to raise spades, there is no reason to be deflected from your plan of bidding clubs then raising diamonds. Unless partner doubles a high level spade call (and maybe even then?) you will see through your plan. You may have only 9 HCP but this hand correlates to almost a full opener when you take the likely fit into account.


♠ 9
 A 10
 Q J 5 4
♣ Q 9 8 7 5 2
South West North East
    1 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