Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

Cowardice, as distinguished from panic, is almost always simply a lack of ability to suspend the functioning of the imagination.

Ernest Hemingway

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


West should double one diamond rather than overcall one heart, despite his five-card major. North has more than enough to redouble, after which East should pass if he plays that as neutral, or (as here) bid one no-trump if a pass would be played as for penalties.

South can now raise a red flag by bidding two diamonds, suggesting extra length and a minimum hand. Over West’s sporting two-heart call, North’s values look suitable for offense, so he can compete to three diamonds. Even if he passes, South would surely bid on to three diamonds by virtue of his seven-card suit. East may expect to defeat the contract, but it would be unwise to double here since the location of the diamond 10 may be critical to the defense.

West leads and continues clubs, not wanting to open up either major. Declarer ruffs the third round and plays the trump ace, discovering the bad news. It seems at first sight that he must lose three more tricks, but careful timing enables him to force East to trump a loser.

South cashes both top diamonds, enters dummy with the spade king, and ruffs the fourth club as East discards a spade. Then he takes the spade ace and ruffs a spade in hand. He leads a heart to the ace and plays the last spade, retaining two diamonds and a heart in his hand. If East ruffs, declarer discards his losing heart; if not, declarer ruffs and concedes the last two tricks.

Should East ruff a club or spade loser earlier in the hand, the heart loser can be discarded in the same way.

There is no correct answer to the question of whether a new suit by advancer, the partner of the overcaller, should guarantee five cards, or of whether it should be forcing by an unpassed hand. I argue that it is better for constructive bidding to play it as “intended as forcing.” And even if it should be a five-card suit, what else can you do here but bid one spade?


♠ A K 4 3
 A 7 4
 10 4
♣ 7 5 3 2
South West North East
  1 ♣ 1 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


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