Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 9, 2009



Vul: N/S

J 9 5
A K 6
10 9 8
Q 7 4 2
West East
Q 10 6 8
10 9 Q 8 7 5 2
K Q 5 J 7 6
K J 10 9 3 A 8 6 5
A K 7 4 3 2
J 4 3
A 4 3 2


South West North East
  1 Pass 1
1 Pass 2 3
4 All pass    

Opening Lead: 10

“As for disappointing them, I should not so much mind; but I can’t abide to disappoint myself.”

— Oliver Goldsmith

The final of the 1999 Junior World Championships in Florida saw Italy defeat USA comfortably. Even the best home-team results got smothered — look at today’s deal, for example. Eric Greco of the U.S. team found one of the best plays of the tournament, but all it did was hold his losses to 5 IMPs!

On the opening lead of the heart 10 against four spades, Greco rose with the king and ran the diamond 10. He won the heart return in dummy and then passed the diamond nine after a lot of thought. He was trying to set up the diamonds for a discard from dummy, without letting East in. His line would work well enough if hearts were 5-2, but would have been very dangerous if hearts broke 4-3, and it might have led to running into a diamond ruff.

All was well, since Greco had read the cards correctly, and West could do no better than exit with a club when he took the second diamond. Declarer ruffed, cashed the top spades, and led the fourth diamond to pitch the heart loser, making the hand. Alas for USA, four spades doubled was let through in the other room when the first three tricks started the same way, but declarer then came to hand with a top spade to lead the diamond ace. West neglected to unblock his other top diamond on this trick, so East could not get in to cash the hearts, and the play transposed back to Greco’s line.

ANSWER: Your hand is so good in support of clubs that a club slam may be in the offing. But if partner has short hearts, three no-trump may be best. To find out whether your values are working, bid three hearts now, and let partner decide if he wants to play no-trump or some other strain. When only two suits have been bid, you tell partner where you live, not where you have a concern.


South Holds:

J 9 5
A K 6
10 9 8
Q 7 4 2


South West North East
    1 Pass
1NT Pass 2 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 2009. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact