Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, May 11, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


South West North East
1 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening Lead:10

“In baiting a mousetrap with cheese, always leave room for the mouse.”

— Saki

To mark that the Cavendish tournament is about to start in Henderson, Las Vegas, this week’s deals all come from last year’s Cavendish.

Steve Weinstein was declarer in today’s deal. He played three no-trump on a heart lead ducked to East’s king, and East shifted to a spade. Steve took the third spade, cashed his top diamonds, then went to the club ace and cashed the diamond queen. At this point he had reached a five-card ending. When West followed to the third diamond, declarer could infer that he begun with 3-5-3-2 shape.

(Had West shown out on the diamond queen, Weinstein would have had to guess where the club queen was, knowing the suit to be 3-3. He would have had the choice of finessing, or of endplaying West with it on the third round of the suit.) As it was, though, declarer knew from East’s play to trick two that West had begun with five hearts and was still clutching four of them; but what was his other card?

So now Weinstein led a club back to his nine for a guaranteed endplay on West. Even if West had been able to win the club 10, he would have to give dummy a trick and a heart entry for the repeat of the club finesse if needed.

If the club nine had held the trick, declarer does not get the endplay, but he gets an extra club trick. Either way, he has nine tricks.

ANSWER: It is perfectly possible that the right thing to do is to guess which red suit to lead. Since dummy rates to be relatively balanced, I’d be tempted to lead the spade ace to look at dummy and hope to work out what to do next. This may even work well if you see the trump king in dummy. Should you continue the suit, you may persuade declarer to misguess what to do on the second round of trumps.


South Holds:

A Q 3
8 5 3
9 7 4 3
J 8 2


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