Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

She was always attentive to the feelings of dogs, and very polite if she had to decline their advances.

George Eliot

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


The phrase “advance cue-bid” generally refers to a sequence in which one hand has limited itself, typically by a non-forcing call or an opening bid or rebid at no-trump. After such a bid, new suits above three no-trump agree your partner’s suit — rather than suggesting an earlier misbid or a mis-sorting of your hand.

In today’s auction, North opens one no-trump, and South shows a forcing hand with hearts after the two-spade overcall. (North-South are playing Lebensohl — see bridge-articles/lebensohl.)

Now North’s four-club call sets hearts as trump and suggests some extras and suitability for hearts, over which South has enough to be interested in slam, but no spade or diamond control. He solves his problem by jumping to five hearts, trying to suggest a hand like the one he has.

North concludes the auction by bidding six hearts, hoping he can avoid a diamond lead, or that in the worst-case scenario partner will produce the jack or queen there. After the spade lead, South starts drawing trumps and discovers East has three hearts, thus not too many cards in the minors.

He takes out all the trumps, then leads the club 10 (tempting a cover) to the queen. His plan is to come to hand with the club king and try to run the suit. This line works against a singleton jack or nine in East, whereas leading the king initially gives a nasty guess on the second round, while leading low to the ace on the first round blocks the suit.

Hands on the borderline between pre-empts and one-level openers often pose my readers problems, but I would never pass a hand with this good a good suit. Even in a two-suiter, commit to opening at whatever level you think is right. With hands like this 10-pointer, your clumped honors are worth more than the sum of the parts. Open one spade, except in second seat vulnerable, where two spades is acceptable.


♠ K Q 10 6 5 3
 8 4 3
 A J 9
♣ 9
South West North East

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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact