Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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

Opening Lead:10

“Even brothers should keep careful accounts.”

— Chinese proverb

In three years out of four, World Championship fields are restricted to qualifying teams, but in even-numbered non-leap years, such as 2002, each country can send as many participants as wish to compete.

Today’s deal is from the 2002 teams event in Montreal, showing the Hackett brothers of England at work.

Against four hearts (reached after characteristic aggression from North), West started with the club 10. Declarer, Justin Hackett, ran this to his queen, East playing the eight to show a doubleton.

Now declarer played a spade to dummy, a heart to the king and ace, and a second spade. West went in with the ace and exited with what seemed to be a passive spade. Declarer won in dummy, discarding his certain diamond loser, crossed to hand with the diamond ace, and played the heart nine. West won and got off play with his only remaining exit card, the diamond queen. Hackett ruffed and played the heart queen and another heart. Now, with nothing but clubs left, West had to lead away from his king, and four hearts was made.

Do you see how declarer could have made the hand if West had exited with a diamond instead of a spade? Declarer takes the ace, crosses to the club ace to cash his spade winner, ruffs a diamond, then gets off play with his club loser. He ruffs the return, and exits with the heart nine, end-playing West to lead trumps into declarer’s tenace at trick 12.

ANSWER: Your partner’s call of one spade is constructive, but not forcing. With your extra heart length, a simple call of two hearts should suffice. To jump to three hearts, you would need an extra trick (say, the heart jack instead of the six). A spade raise would require a third trump.


South Holds:

10 6
A Q 9 8 7 6
A 4
Q J 2
South West North East
1 Pass 1 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