Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, December 14th, 2018

There is no security on this Earth; there is only opportunity.

Douglas MacArthur

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


When this deal came up in a teams match at a regional tournament, I was an innocent bystander watching some friends of mine score up their set. One of the less-experienced players had already commented on his bad luck on this deal. However, when he came to score up and lost 12 IMPs, he was emboldened to ask his teammates what had gone wrong.

First, he explained what had happened to him after a two-no-trump opener had been raised to three. West had led the heart nine, covered all around and won with the ace. Declarer had passed the diamond queen to East, won the spade return in hand and crossed to the diamond ace to run the club jack. When West won and played the heart eight, the defenders were in position to cash five winners.

“Did I do something wrong?” he asked. “What happened at your table?” His teammates explained that the auction had been identical, and so was the opening lead. The big difference was that South did not make the knee-jerk move of covering at trick one in dummy. Instead, he played low from dummy and won the heart ace, then finessed unsuccessfully in diamonds. He could win the spade return and eventually lose the club finesse to West, with both heart intermediates still serving as a bulwark in that suit. South had three top tricks in the majors and had developed six minor-suit winners against any defense.

This move in the heart suit may be unusual, but it is certainly worth adding to the repertoire.

This hand is not worth an invitational sequence, since you need more than just a couple of extra high cards and an eight-card fit to get you close to game here. But you are certainly planning to compete to at least the two-level if necessary, so respond one spade, planning to bid hearts at your next turn if the opponents bid a second time.


♠ 10 6 5 4
 K Q 7 6
 K 10 8
♣ 3 2
South West North East
  1 ♣ Dbl. 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