Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 30th, 2017

A couple of years ago, I was asked, ‘How would you like to be remembered?’ And my answer was, ‘That I was very funny.’

Patrick Stewart

W North
None ♠ J 5
 K 9 5 4
 K Q 10 4
♣ Q 7 5
West East
♠ K 10 6 2
 10 6
 A 8 7
♣ K J 9 4
♠ 9 8 3
 J 2
 9 6 3 2
♣ A 8 3 2
♠ A Q 7 4
 A Q 8 7 3
 J 5
♣ 10 6
South West North East
  Pass Pass Pass
1 Dble Rdbl. Pass
Pass 1 ♠ 3 Pass
4 All pass    


Today’s deal comes from Frank Stewart’s latest book, “Keys to Winning Bridge.” As Frank points out, North misbid his hand. Instead of redoubling, it would have been better to bid two no-trump, Jordan, showing a maximum pass and four trumps. And maybe South should have passed three hearts, since West was likely to have the spade king for his double.

West leads a trump against the game; South draws trumps and leads the diamond jack, which is ducked, and a second diamond. When West takes the ace, he can recall that East did not bid one spade over the redouble. If East had four spades, he would surely have been obliged to suggest East-West’s best place to play.

So South should have four spades. Even if East has the spade ace, the defense will still get their spade tricks, but if East has the club ace, West must shift to clubs — specifically, to the “surrounding” club jack in case South has the 10. The defense will get two clubs, and West will still get his spade king.

In a practiced partnership, East might signal by following with a count card on the first diamond, then with his smallest diamond at the second turn. This would be suit-preference to suggest club strength.

The question of when to show count, as opposed to suit preference or attitude, is a highly complex one. If East only gets one chance (say, if West wins the first diamond), then his card is more clearly suit preference.

You have a straightforward choice: Do you double, in the hope that partner has a major or a penalty double, but leaving you an awkward problem if someone bids clubs or perhaps raises diamonds? Or do you bid one heart, which might lose spades and might miss out on defending here? Either action is acceptable, but double covers more bases, I believe.


♠ A Q 7 4
 A Q 8 7 3
 J 5
♣ 10 6
South West North East
  1 Pass 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