Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 25th, 2019

I see but one rule: to be clear. If I am not clear, all my world crumbles to nothing.


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


This hand from the 2014 European Team Championships in Croatia demonstrates the importance of constructing the unseen hands.

Geir Helgemo’s one-club opening did little to keep his Norwegian opponents from reaching the heart game. Espen Lindqvist doubled for take-out, and Boye Brogeland set up a forcing auction with his two-club cue-bid. South showed his spades first, then bid three hearts over the two no-trump advance, raised to game by North.

Tor Helness led the club three, and Helgemo took two winners in the suit before cashing the spade ace and continuing with a spade to declarer’s king. Lindqvist ruffed a spade with the heart 10 and drew trumps in three rounds, ending in hand. He then cashed the spade queen, confirming the layout of that suit.

Declarer needed to avoid a diamond loser. As if by magic, Lindqvist led the diamond jack and ran the card, pulling off a backward finesse! Plus 620 and 12 IMPs were his.

Why did he make this play? He knew Helgemo from his days of playing for Norway before transferring his loyalty to Monaco, so he was aware of his predilection for opening one no-trump at the slightest drop of a hat. If East held the diamond queen as part of a 3=2=2=6 hand containing the black-suit honors already shown, he would have been in range for a slightly off-center one no-trump opening bid. It is hard to argue with success, isn’t it?

Clearly, you must find a rebid, but none appeal. One no-trump is the best of a bad bunch, showing the strength of your hand but fibbing about the shape. With five poor diamonds and no shortness, two diamonds is not leading the polls. You might persuade me to make that call on a five-card suit if it were headed by two top honors, but not today.


♠ 7 5
 A Q 10 6
 A 9 8 3 2
♣ Q 10
South West North East
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


Iain ClimieNovember 8th, 2019 at 7:01 pm

Hi Bobby, Judy,

Welcome back and I hope your handsetter is fully recovered. Perhaps the lesson from the fine play today is not always to bend your bids given the opportunity.



Bobby WolffNovember 8th, 2019 at 7:58 pm

Hi Iain,

Another way to echo your good advice is to, when in high-level competition, likely in any sport, it will always be a good idea to not allow the opposition to be on to you.

IOW, vary your tactics and with competitive players in almost all categories, including personal business, avoid becoming a stereotype, since so-called big brothers (and sisters) are sure to be noticing.