Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it: It would be hell on earth.

George Bernard Shaw

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


Neil Silverman and Robert Lebi have each represented their countries, the U.S. and Canada, respectively, but they were playing together in Philadelphia last spring. Here, Silverman had an opportunity to test his skills after Lebi had shown a distributional raise in hearts by his jump to three hearts at his first turn. Modern expert technique is tending to an approach in which most limit raises start with a cue-bid. Accordingly, the jump raise has morphed over the years from a forcing raise to a limit raise to a pre-emptive raise. These days, though, many use the jump raise as somewhere between a limit raise and a pre-emptive raise.

Silverman bid on to five hearts over five diamonds. After the lead of the diamond king, East went up with the ace, planning to continue the attack on diamonds. Declarer ruffed and led the club 10 from hand (just in case) to dummy’s queen. When that held, he ran the heart queen, covered all around, then drove out the club ace. West now played a second diamond, and Silverman pitched a club from hand, leaving the defense helpless. Whoever won the diamond would have to lead a spade or diamond. Declarer could ruff the diamond in dummy and pitch a spade from hand, then advance the heart nine and bring hearts in for no loser.

If East had been able to win the second diamond, declarer could have adopted the same approach, but would have needed the spade finesse to work.

You have a relatively simple decision here. Your partner has clubs and spades and has indirectly limited his hand by his failure to jump to two spades. But he could certainly have 17 high-card points and a 5-4 pattern, for example. Does that mean you should pass? With three working honors in the black suits, I think the hand is just worth a raise to two spades. If partner had opened one diamond, I might pass now.


♠ Q J 9 5
 Q 9 5 2
 6 4
♣ Q 7 4
South West North East
    1 ♣ Pass
1 Pass 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


David WarheitApril 2nd, 2019 at 9:30 am

Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.—Mark Twain

A.V.Ramana RaoApril 2nd, 2019 at 10:18 am

Hi David
Or if we make every contract we bid and defeat every contract of opponents. Has the next Millennium arrived ? !!

bobbywolffApril 2nd, 2019 at 1:04 pm

Hi David, AVRR & by osmosis, George Bernard Shaw and Mark Twain,

All very true, except perhaps AVRR (after a briefer time than expected). Life would become boring, so much so, that the victim would soon look for other worlds to conquer, and likely fail since that effort in climbing the bridge ladder would likely, besides using up all his or her luck, but, in reality, put paid to his immense incentive.

However, all reports are not in yet from either heaven or as AVRR refers, the next Millennium.

Most, if not all humans, have a limit to their genius, no matter how much effort they expend.

And by the way, David, if I would follow Mark Twain’s theory, not a terribly optimistic assumption, I would already be up to 24 or down to 12 (depending on direction) and counting.