Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.

lan Poe

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

*second negative


Do not worry about how to bid the South cards. The chances are that you’ll get a hand of this strength about once every 10 years (so long as you play two sessions of bridge a day, every day of the week).

South receives negative responses from North at his first three turns, as well he might. He then has to decide whether to risk the five-level in search of a slam. When he does, North has – in context – a pretty good hand with a guaranteed working honor and three trumps, enough to bid on.

To make his slam, South must try to avoid the loss of two spade tricks, which is simple enough if each opponent has three spades. If spades break four-two, however, South must play with some care. The key is to draw only one round of trumps before conceding a spade. At that point the defenders rate to exit in a minor, and now declarer draws a second round of trump and tests spades.

South must hope that the player with four spades also has three or more trumps. Then South will be able to ruff his last spade in dummy without being over-ruffed.

The traps are to draw two rounds of trumps before giving up a spade, when East would return a third trump to kill the spade ruff in dummy. But also note that if South does not draw two rounds of trump, instead cashing one or two top spades before giving up a spade, then East can lead another spade and allow West to ruff. Either way, South would go down.

Although it is arguable that a call of two of a minor by your partner might be trying to improve the contract, a two heart bid shows real extras. He would pass with five hearts and no extras. You have just enough extras to bid, but your cards are so soft that maybe a raise to three hearts should suffice. Let partner try to get back to three no-trump if he wants to.


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