Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: Both

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


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

Opening Lead: 10

“Panics in some cases have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt.”

— Thomas Paine

Many beginners find it easier to learn the basics of card play than of bidding. Bidding is an imprecise science at the best times, and it is not only beginners who occasionally land in silly contracts because they have bid badly.

In today’s auction South should have bid three no-trump, not three spades. North could not have four spades, so introducing a weak suit here was pointless. The call should be used to show values in spades, asking North to bid three no-trump with a club stopper.

It is important not to panic when the contract you find yourself in is far from ideal, because a clear head can often find a way to succeed. The final contract was ridiculous, three no-trump or five diamonds being much superior, but curiously, on the lie of the cards, four hearts cannot be defeated on any lead.

At the table West led the club 10, thinking from the bidding that perhaps North and South were short of club stoppers. Declarer won the club queen and played the heart king. Suppose East wins and returns a heart. Declarer wins in the dummy and plays diamonds from the top. East has to follow helplessly, so declarer ruffs the fourth diamond with the heart nine. He then cashes the heart queen, followed by the ace and king of clubs and ace of spades. That makes 10 tricks: one spade and three tricks in each of the other suits. The defenders take their spade and trump tricks together at the end.

ANSWER: This was the start of the bidding in our featured auction. But here South should simply bid three no-trump. It is unlikely that the defenders can take five spade tricks; if they cannot, your side should have enough values to give three no-trump decent play.


South Holds:

8 4 3 2
Q 9 8 7
A K 3 2


South West North East
  1 Pass
1 Pass 3 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