Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, May 8, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead:2

“When earth breaks up and heaven expands,

How will the change strike me and you

In the house not made with hands?”

— Robert Browning

West found the only lead to give South a problem in his contract of four spades — namely, a trump. With any other attack, declarer wins, plays ace and another club and, when on play again, a third club. If the club suit fails to break 3-3, South’s fourth club can be ruffed in dummy.

It is always difficult to reject a good plan when circumstances render it unlikely to succeed. But South appreciated that the plan of playing on clubs was unlikely to work, unless they broke favorably, as the lead must be lost twice and two further trump returns would denude dummy of ruffing values.

The winning line was perhaps more elegant than taking the club ruff in dummy, but just as sure to come home. It involves a dummy reversal — declarer taking three ruffs in the South hand. Declarer carefully won the opening trump lead in hand with the ace. Then the ace and king of hearts were cashed, a diamond played to dummy’s ace, and a heart ruffed high. Another diamond followed, and on winning, West returned another trump. This was won in dummy and a diamond was ruffed. (Notice that care was needed when winning the opening lead and when ruffing a heart, that dummy’s trump entry was not compromised.)

Now a club to dummy’s ace and a further diamond ruff brought the tally to nine. Although the South hand is now bereft of trumps, the master spade remaining in dummy is the 10th trick.

ANSWER: Your partner’s action shows a hand with a long and good club suit. And since a jump to three clubs at his first turn would have been pre-emptive, it makes sense for this sequence to show an opening bid. Having established that, you seem to have enough to raise to three clubs, since you have a decent hand and good club support.


South Holds:

10 9 4
9 4 3
A 6 5 2
A 5 3


South West North East
  1 Pass 1
Pass 1 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


Terry QuestedMay 27th, 2009 at 2:23 am

Hi, I note that your diamond symbol is smaller than the other three. I have solved this problem by replacing the &#9830 with &#9830

This can be done for a whole page using the find/replace.

You might like to give it a try.

For examples, have a look at any page on my website, , say one of the convention pages.

Bobby WolffMay 29th, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Hi Terry,

Thanks for taking the trouble to suggest to me how to get bigger diamonds. I’ll turn it over to my own diamond expert, my wife Judy, who is better equipped to find/replace and every other function on my computer.

Good luck to you and continue to love and enjoy bridge in your beautiful Thailand.

Please give my regards to Esther.

Bobby Wolff

Judy Kay-WolffMay 29th, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Dear Terry:

Bobby just showed me your remarks and his response. Yes, I am “big on diamonds” — but hardly computer savvy as we have nothing to do with the physical presentation of the blog — but delighted to pass it on.

Thanks for caring.