Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: N/S


A K 6

A 4

9 6

A J 9 8 6 4


10 9

Q 8 5

A K J 8 5 4 2



J 7 3

K J 9 7 3


Q 10 7 3


Q 8 5 4 2

10 6 2

Q 10 3

K 2


South West North East
  2* 3 Pass
Pass Dbl. Pass 3
Pass 4 Dbl. Pass
4 Pass Pass Dbl.
All Pass      
*9-13 points, diamonds, unbalanced

Opening Lead: K

“The reason firm, the temperate will,

Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill;

A perfect woman, nobly planned,

To warn, to comfort, and command.”

— William Wordsworth

These days at the world championships there is almost always a choice of events. Right now in Philadelphia the major events are open teams and women’s teams. But last year there was an open team game as well as separate events for women, a senior event and a transnational teams.

Here are Michael and Debbie Rosenberg at work in the last-mentioned event. Michael’s double of four diamonds was intended as optional, with extra values, and Debbie expected to find a hand that was at least moderately suitable for spades. The opponents can hold their loss to one trick in four diamonds, so it seems right to attempt the spade game, despite the work required to succeed in that contract.

The defenders led two top diamonds and East signaled for a heart. West obediently shifted to the heart five, suggesting three. Debbie needed the spades to be 3-2, and because West had 10 red cards, she placed him with short clubs.

Having drawn this conclusion, Rosenberg now found the fine move of advancing the club jack! Had this held the trick, she would have drawn two trumps with the ace and king, unblocked clubs, and pitched her heart loser on the diamond queen. Whether East ruffed or not, declarer would be able to ruff one heart and throw the other on the club ace.

In fact, East covered the club jack, so declarer took the trump ace and queen, set up the clubs via the ruffing finesse, and made no fewer than 11 tricks.


South Holds:

Q 8 5 4 2
10 6 2
Q 10 3
K 2


South West North East
  1 Pass 1 NT
Pass 2 Dbl. Pass
ANSWER: Any delayed double of a suit in this way is takeout if facing a passed partner. Here, North rates to have awkward length in hearts and short diamonds, together with about an opening bid. He was unable to double initially because of his short diamonds. This being the case, you have a simple call of two spades. Your problem may come on the next round if the opponents compete to three diamonds.


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 2010. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Denis KristandaOctober 23rd, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Isn’t continuation of Diamond on 3rd trick will beat the contract ?

Declarer can throw a heart on the third diamond, but ruff by East. Then East will need to return Heart to the bare Ace on dummy (which is probably the soundest choice) and declarer will not have enough entry to go to dummy to establish club since he has to withdraw 2 spades first.

Bobby WolffOctober 24th, 2010 at 6:52 am

Hi Denis,

Declarer, as you say, discards a heart from dummy and RHO ruffs, then after his return of a heart, Declarer wins in dummy and draws two round of trump (by leading a small one to his hand and then back to dummy) Then declarer does as Debby did, leads the jack of clubs from dummy and if East covers he merely leads a club back to dummy and takes the ruffing club finesse with still a trump entry in dummy to cash the clubs. If East ducks then declarer lets the jack ride and then leads a club to his King, ruffs one heart and discards his other losing heart on the Ace of clubs.

It is good to hear from you again and I hope you are enjoying the game.

Denis KristandaOctober 25th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

of course… sorry I must have been sleepy when I write the comment… Thanks