Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

In the rotation of crops there was a recognized season for wild oats; but they were not sown more than once.

Edith Wharton

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


With his values concentrated in his long suits, and fine heart intermediates, South has a far more promising opening bid than most balanced 12-counts.

North can force to game with a two-over-one response, then raise hearts and try for slam. South will put the brakes on firmly, and unless North suffers a severe rush of blood to the head, South will finish in four hearts. Against this contract, West has a straightforward lead of a top spade. South ducks the first two spades in dummy, but when a third spade is played (a trump shift was essential) he must ruff. Declarer can now see that if the club ace is offside, and diamonds do not break, he may need to plan what he will do with his fourth diamond.

When declarer plays a club to the king, East wins (though ducking might make declarer’s task a little harder). East returns a club, and dummy wins. It is far more likely that trumps are breaking 3-2 than that diamonds are 3-3, or that the same hand has long diamonds and long clubs, so South changes tack. He ruffs a club in hand, crosses to dummy with a diamond, and ruffs another club. By this time, South has ruffed three times in his hand. This leaves him with only two trumps in hand compared to dummy’s three.

South can draw trump in three rounds, discarding his last diamond on dummy’s long trump, and come to 10 tricks in the form of one club, three ruffs, three trumps, and three diamonds: a perfect dummy reversal.

If you do not play any conventions in this sequence, redoubling then raising hearts is the best way to show these values. However, one of Marty Bergen’s most useful ideas was to play that one or both of the minor-suit responses after the double of a major should be subverted for a constructive major-suit raise. For more details see


♠ A 9 8 7
 7 5 4
 J 8
♣ A 10 9 3
South West North East
  Pass 1 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