Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, May 15, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


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

Opening Lead:A

“There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means.”

— Calvin Coolidge

In today’s deal from the Cavendish teams you may want to cover up the East-West cards so that you can sympathize fully with declarer. You bid to four spades and are happy to receive the lead of the heart ace. You ruff and draw trumps in three rounds, pitching a heart from dummy. It looks right to pass the club nine now, and RHO wins the king to play a diamond.


Your safest route to 10 tricks is to win the diamond in hand with the ace, preserving dummy’s entry. The next club loses to LHO’s ace, and he knocks out the diamond king. You cash the heart king (pitching a diamond), ruff a heart to hand, and take the club finesse to make your game. Nicely played, but it is time to look at the full deal. When the club jack turns up offside, you are held to eight tricks.


Note what happens if the defenders had taken the club jack. They can now either cash their clubs to set up two discards for your diamonds, or exit with a diamond to let you rely on the diamond finesse after pitching a club on the heart king.


You want to know which defender could find the play of the club king on the first round of the suit? That was Zia Mahmood, motivated by more than his usual devilishness. He was simultaneously trying to establish some psychological one-upmanship against his partner-to-be in major events, Bob Hamman.

ANSWER: You have more than enough in hand for a call of two diamonds. Since you have little defense to spades, you certainly do not want to sell out now. Even though there is a strong suggestion that diamonds may not be splitting, your values should protect your partner at the two-level.


South Holds:

5 3
K J 9 6 3
K 7
Q 10 8 5


South West North East
  1 1 Pass
1 1 Pass 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