Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, June 24th, 2021


A V Ramana RaoJuly 8th, 2021 at 2:23 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
While the play provided for excellent technique after the lead, but holding singleton Q of clubs, how far east is justified in doubling the contract? To start with, NS are not vulnerable and if EW takes the contract one down, the gain in doubling is only fifty points and perhaps may not worth the risk. And had east not doubled, most probably West would have led a spade and south would have played west for club Q considering bidding. And now, south has serious transportation problems for handling diamonds. However, after initial diamond lead, south prevailed due to doubleton nine of spade with west

bobbywolffJuly 8th, 2021 at 3:46 pm


While IMO, you present an effective argument for not doubling, based on the amount of points gained from it, however you might be underestimating the main reason East probably succumbed and did it.

Of course I am accenting the increased likelihood of managing a set (Lightener double, calling for an unusual lead), instead of a make, if, in fact, the queen of clubs was best used as a trump at trick one, instead of a possible legitimate make, based on the bidding.

We’ll of course, never know, but I tend to side on what East did, and for his obvious reason.

However, as to the result obtained, the initial return on the above, gives you the first vote, so, in deference to that beginning, I’ll not try and gild that lily.

In any event, your comment helps every reader, since whatever their eventual belief will more likely occur to them, rather than be lost in just another experience not particularly noted.

And finally, the above paragraph is what I think is the most valuable use of our sometimes daily discussion, therefore I certainly wanted to give you the credit for that, whether or not (and we usually do, but this is an exception), agree on the conclusion.

ClarksburgJuly 8th, 2021 at 5:02 pm

Hello Bobby
BWTA today (opening big hands) reminded me to ask about this one.
I had to decide what to do with this hand after three passes.
(Club game. Most play the only way to show big hand immediately is via 2C or 2NT) Most opened 2C. I was the “outlier” ,opening it 1 Heart.


Would appreciate your thoughts / advice.

bobbywolffJuly 8th, 2021 at 6:49 pm

Hi Clarksburg,

My thoughts go like this:

1. When holding 23 hcps, it is just too large a risk of the hand being passed out, and if partner merely holds a six card suit in any of the lower three suits plus a king to match, you will likely be odds on to have a more or less laydown small slam.

2. Of course, it may be difficult to reach, but if you instead open 2 clubs with the intent to lie about your singleton and rebid 2NT if partner goes double negative with you. that will eliminate the atrocity awaiting you later if, in fact, partner is now able to bid his suit.

3. If, however partner is weak but still holds a stray queen or so, (and especially 4 or more cards in hearts that suit figures to be good for
a high percentage game or better.

4. The idea of showing the type of discipline shown here, is, at least to me, the mark of a winner, who is zeroed in on eliminating disasters, by not pretending (nor just hoping) that you have magically avoided a more than thought to be, real and valid risk.

5. Yes, there is a rule break, by intending to rebid NT with only a singleton, but, at least to me, that totally legal choice is a least of evil and even if spades are led against 3NT, I would still expect to make it, if partner raises me to game.

Even though one needs to have a keen sense of humor to overcome the different unlucky slaps one can receive, a winning player will, at least by me, will not run away from those types of chance.

Good luck and while I do not have any qualms about whatever one bid (hearts included) you decide to make instead, I would veto all of them as being equally poor, and for different, though irrelevant reasons.

However, always good luck to everyone who enjoys bridge the way you do and especially to one who loves and actively, promotes it.

ClarksburgJuly 8th, 2021 at 7:48 pm

Thanks Bobby
For those who may be curious, Partner held:
865 9732 Q953 Q3
All (except me) made the 4th seat opening of 2C.
Five Pairs got to 4H (somehow; the auctions were not pretty)
Two Pairs languished in Heart part score (2H and my 1H passed out)
One Pair played in 2NT and was gifted making +1
Two of the strongest Pairs stumbled into 3NT -2 for low Board
My 1H +5 was not a complete disaster (44%)