Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, September 15th, 2017

They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Benjamin Franklin

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


In tales of the Three Little Pigs we normally see two failures for every success, but every pig (or is it dog?) has its day. So in today’s deal we shall see one of the less rational lines rewarded.

Each of the three little pigs declared three no-trump on a low spade lead. The first little pig gave up a diamond at trick two, won the next spade and then tried to run the diamonds. This would have worked if diamonds broke three-two; when they did not, he needed a miracle in hearts, which did not happen.

The second little pig went to dummy with a high diamond and tried a heart finesse. When it worked, South could cross again to dummy with a high diamond to repeat the finesse. That generated two extra tricks for South. But even if the finesse had lost, South would still have come home had hearts been 3-3

By my calculations, the first little pig’s play is slightly better. However, when the cautious and calculating member of the trio emerged, it transpired that he had found an even better line. He won the first spade to give up a diamond, ducked the next spade, and won the third. When he cashed off the top diamonds, East was squeezed on the last winner. Whether he came down to three hearts or three clubs, declarer could discard from the other suit, then take a heart finesse, and set up an extra winner for himself in the appropriate suit.

A satisfying way to bring home the bacon.

A raise to two spades cannot be criticized. Still, if the simple raise to two might be this hand or the same hand with a small heart instead of the king, it can be very hard to compete constructively or reach game. One way to distinguish between raises here is to use the direct raise as weaker, and subvert a call of two clubs to show a constructive raise to two spades – say 7-9 points. With more, redouble.


♠ Q 10 6
 K 9 8 5
♣ Q 10 8 7 5
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