Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

When men grow virtuous in their old age, they only Make a sacrifice to God of the devil’s leavings.

Alexander Pope

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

*Shortage, agreeing hearts


When South responds one heart to one club, North jumps to three diamonds. Since two diamonds would be natural and forcing, it is reasonable to agree to play this as extra values with heart support and diamond shortness.

With excellent trumps and an ideal diamond holding, South can imagine a slam. He cue-bids four diamonds, then five diamonds when North signs off. This all but demands that North bid six with decent black-suit controls.

Against the slam, West leads a trump, both to protect his diamond honors and to cut down dummy’s ruffing potential. South’s best plan seems to be to trump diamonds in dummy, since taking spade ruffs in hand would promote winners for the defense.

He should aim to win two spades, his own four trumps, one top diamond, and two diamond ruffs in dummy. The problem is to make sure of three club tricks. How can South arrange to ruff a second diamond and guard against losing a club at a moment when the opponents could cash a diamond trick?

The solution is to give up a club early on while dummy can still ruff a diamond return. This solves the timing problem, even if it runs a small risk of losing to a club ruff.

He wins the trump lead, cashes the diamond ace, ruffs a diamond and leads the club jack from dummy. East can win and play another trump, but declarer wins and ruffs a second diamond. He can then use the club 10 as a re-entry to hand to draw trumps and run dummy’s clubs.

Respond one diamond. Facing an opening in first seat, it is worth responding light with a decent five-card suit, if only to make it more difficult for the opponents to get into the auction. What is more, your bid will tell partner where your values are and may direct the right lead. While partner may hope for more values from you, it is unlikely that he will hang you if the opponents compete.


♠ J 7 3
 J 10
 K 10 8 5 2
♣ 8 5 4
South West North East
    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


jim2November 19th, 2019 at 1:35 pm

In BWTA, if the opponents remains silent, do you plan to pass a one heart rebid by partner?

Iain ClimieNovember 19th, 2019 at 3:36 pm

Hi Jim2,

I might pass 1S but I’m bidding 2C over 1H. Partner hasn’t rebid 1N so I’m guessing he’s got shape here to bid 1H or, if 3-4-3-3, he’ll hopefully shift 2C to 2D. I don’t think partner will enjoy a 4-2 heart fit although if he’s 4-4-2-3 we may wind up in a 3-3 fit not a 4-2 one.



bobbywolffNovember 19th, 2019 at 3:44 pm

H Jim2,

It would have been a very nice gesture for you to not ask such a pointed question since whatever I say or would have done, will seem either inconsistent or a wee bit unethical.

Now for the ugly choices:

1. Yes

2. With some less aggressive partners I may return to 2 clubs to play that possible 6 card fit instead of 1 heart, which would be a certain one.

3. However if partner was, 3-4-3-3 instead of 4-4-2-3, he probably, even with a minimum convert 2 clubs to 2 diamonds (I may be close to dreaming that he would, but perhaps the sour look on my face will lead him to it) ONLY KIDDING, HA HA!

4. The real value bid would be to rebid 1 diamond and then when questioned, hesitantly make it sufficient, and of course, if partner is 4-4-1-4 find another 6 card fit to declare.

5. My secret answer is that this BWTA was always intended to be a money making scheme, with your question the certain one to be asked, and for fifty cents, my real answer will follow, unless the combined amount of money I receive is so great, I can skip town and praise the TD for being so understanding.

6. In real life, either an original pass, one diamond or even one NT response are all in the mix with every responder a free man (or woman) able to choose his or her own poison.

7. Just because you are always cursed with TOCM, doesn’t give you the right to make wonderful other people like me, uncomfortable
by having to deal with reality.

jim2November 19th, 2019 at 3:49 pm


bobbywolffNovember 19th, 2019 at 4:00 pm

Hi Iain,

Although crossed in the mail, why in only 60 words did it take you what took me over 225 to bore?

Quit showing me up, or perhaps I need to rethink,by claiming that 4-2 fits often play better than do 3-3’s, not to mention one level higher.

Iain ClimieNovember 19th, 2019 at 4:58 pm

Hi Bobby,

I correspond with a regular contributor to UK’s “Famers Weekly” about food security (I work in risk assessment) and he told me my jottings are good but sometimes too long. So I’ve been cutting back – sorry about that!