Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.

Winston Churchill

East North
Neither ♠ Q 6 5 4
 5 4
 9 7 5
♣ 10 9 7 3
West East
♠ A K 3 2
 Q J 4 3
♣ K 8 6 4
♠ J 10 9 8 7
 J 10
 A 10 6 2
♣ J 5
♠ —
 A K Q 8 7 6 3 2
 K 8
♣ A Q 2
South West North East
4 4♠ Pass Pass
5 Dbl. All pass  


This week's deals all come from the 2013 world championships in Bali, held exactly a year ago. Linda Cartner of the New Zealand Women's team had to defend perfectly to defeat the Indonesian women's contract of five hearts doubled in this deal from their round-robin match.

Glenis Palmer’s two-spade opening was weak, showing five spades and a four-card or longer minor, and Indonesia’s Lusje Bojoh had something to spare for her overcall of four hearts. Not surprisingly, when Cartner competed in four spades, Bojoh took the push to five hearts, promptly doubled by Cartner. The lead was the spade king, and declarer ruffed and took six rounds of hearts. In the six-card ending, Cartner came down to her master spade, both her diamond honors, and king-third of clubs. Meanwhile, dummy kept three clubs, a diamond and two spades. Declarer next played the club queen, and Cartner found the killing defense of ducking. If she wins, declarer can get to dummy’s long club and loses only one trick in each minor. Bojoh continued with ace and a third club, but Cartner could win and play the spade ace. Declarer had to ruff and lead away from the diamond king for one down, plus 100 to New Zealand.

Cartner had to come down to these exact six cards in the ending. If she throws a second club, she can no longer duck the club queen, while if she keeps three diamonds and no spade, she will have to lead diamonds for declarer after winning the third club.

Your partner obviously has decent values and relatively short hearts, but didn't come into the auction. There is therefore an inference that he may have decent diamonds, so I would lead a diamond. If nothing else, this is the lead least likely to blow a trick in the suit led.


♠ J 8 6 2
 Q 9 5 3
 9 8
♣ Q 5 4
South West North East
1 Pass 1
Pass 2 All 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


David WarheitOctober 6th, 2014 at 1:32 pm

West actually can come down to 4C, 1D & SA. If she did so, however, the D better not be the Q or J.

I nominate this comment for the Most Trivial Comment of the Day.

bobby wolffOctober 6th, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Hi David,

A very clever comment, and I do not agree with you regarding your disclaim of what diamonds need to be discarded. Compare keeping a diamond honor with Mrs. O’Leary’s cow or the sinking of either the Lusitania or the Titanic but s… happens! Even the great Napolean invading Russia has its Waterloo.

No MTCOTD for you.

Jane AOctober 6th, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Why not double the four spade bid and take the plus? Let partner join in on the fun and decide if four spades doubled is a better place to be. By bidding four hearts first and then doubling the four spade bid, south would certainly describe her hand I would think. North can then sit. If the opps steal your hand, take them to jail!

bobby wolffOctober 6th, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Hi Jane,

When one starts out with an 8 card solid suit (more or less) it becomes partner baiting to then double the opponents since your values are offensively oriented and may produce zero heart tricks.

I wish I agreed with you which then, in fact, make bridge a much easier game, but sadly it is more complicated and, in order to be successful while playing against peers, needs to reflect deft judgment in the bidding. Obviously on this hand with partner holding 4 spades to the queen and short hearts the defense is worth talking about, but if partner held a balanced Yarborough (nothing of value) I would not like to bet on setting their 10 trick contract while if partner only held the jack of clubs and the queen of diamonds we figure to be able to produce 11 tricks with hearts as trump and on a beautiful day (rarely seen) if partner had only the King of clubs with some length we are very likely to score up slam in hearts against our worthy opponents making ten or eleven tricks (or on a rainy day for us, twelve) with their Prince Albert as trump.

Well, I can dream, can’t I? (sounds like a love song).

Iain ClimieOctober 6th, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Hi Bobby, Jane,

Should North double the 4S bid, even if only to stop south bashing on? True, North’s trumps might not be worth a trick, but they could be enough to stop a cross-ruff unlike 4 small. If EW are close to making 4S, it could be that South is going for a fair number in 5H so is the risk of losing an extra 170 excessive?



bobby wolffOctober 6th, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Hi Jane, Iain,

Not necessarily, but and only perhaps.

Just, whatever you do, always be right, and no one will ever suffer an indignity.

Such is the often the case in trying to outguess what to do. Yes, North would have been right to double 4 spades, if South would not have found a way to make 5 hearts, and to forecast that, a Ouija board may come in handy.