Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, March 16, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: E/W

A K 9 8
7 6 3 2
J 8 4 2
West East
7 6 4 J
A Q 5 4 10 9 8
Q 6 A K 7 5
10 7 4 2 A K J 6 3
Q 10 5 3 2
10 9 3
Q 8 5
West North East South
Pass 1 1
Dbl. 2 3 Pass
Pass 3 All Pass

Opening Lead: Q

“None but the brave deserves the fair.”

— John Dryden

To mark the Spring Nationals now being held in Houston, I shall be using deals from last year’s spring tournament, which was held in Detroit. You can follow the tournament by reading the bulletins on the ACBL Web site at, or watching live coverage toward the end of the week at

The best play that I encountered in the Mixed Pairs found me on the receiving end. I thought Michael Yuen and Angela Fenton did very well here.

My one-spade bid perhaps deserved a fate worse than it got. But given that the contract of three clubs would have produced an easy 150 for East-West, the defenders needed the third undertrick to get back to par.

Against three spades, West led the diamond queen, ducked all around, and led another diamond to East’s king. Yuen made a very thoughtful shift to the heart eight, covered by the jack and queen. (Shifting to the heart 10 would not have made West’s life easy.)

Now the heart ace was led, East playing the nine. Then Fenton played a club to the king, and East continued with the diamond ace and a fourth diamond. Declarer ruffed high as Fenton pitched both her hearts. Now, as declarer, I had to guess spades at once, with no re-entry to my hand. Not surprisingly, I led low to dummy’s spade eight, since the trumps were known to be 3-1. This resulted in down 150 — mission accomplished for the defenders.

ANSWER: The question is whether to lead a spade or a diamond. Normally, you would opt for the fourth suit, or unbid suit. However, North’s failure to double three diamonds makes me think you might do better to lead a spade, although I agree that it is close.


South Holds:

Q 9 4 3
Q 8 6 4
J 7 6
J 2
West North East South
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 3NT All Pass

If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, feel free to leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2009.

1 Comment

MichaelApril 1st, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Thanks for the kind words.