Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

Martin Luther King Jr

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


Here South has a simple call of two clubs on his first turn, but no reason to do more than rebid two no-trump on his second. This is invitational, not forcing; a two-over-one in competition does not even guarantee a second call.

After West leads the spade six against three no-trump, South must bring in the clubs to make his game, no matter who has the club ace. Imagine declarer plays low from dummy at trick one and East puts in the nine. South can duck to try to kill the spades, but this line of play will fail if East has the club ace. The duck will be fatal since East will later get the lead with the club ace and will run the spades.

Conversely, if the cards lie as they do in the diagram and South wins the first spade, West will grab his club ace and play a second spade through to kill the contract. However, assuming West has led from a doubleton spade, then to make sure of the contract regardless of the location of the club ace, South needs to put up the spade queen from dummy at once.

East must win with the ace, or South will still have the spade king poised over East’s ace, and the spades will not pose a threat. But if East now leads another spade, South can let it ride around to dummy’s 10, so East must shift. In turn, that gives South time to develop the clubs while he still has the protection of his spade king.

Whether or not you play two-over-one as forcing in an uncompetitive auction, almost everyone would play this sequence as invitational, but not forcing. With a better hand, your partner would have to cue-bid on his second turn. That said, you have enough to bid three no-trump now. You may not make it, but you have too much in hand to pass out three clubs.


♠ Q 10 2
 A Q 9 8 3
 A Q J 9
♣ 10
South West North East
1 1 ♠ 2 ♣ Pass
2 Pass 3 ♣ 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