Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dealer: East

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
Pass Pass Dbl. Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead:Q

“The worst-constructed play is a Bach fugue when compared to life.”

— Helen Hayes

Most players are familiar with the situation of having an eight-card trump fit including the ace and king. You plan to cash your top honors and then go about your business, allowing the opponent with the master trump to ruff in whenever he wishes while you make the remainder. Today’s deal is a variation on that theme.


South rather sportingly drove to game after North’s double of two spades. (Some people use two no-trump as artificial and weak in response to North’s takeout double. That lets them use a direct call of three hearts as value-showing.) What would be your plan in four hearts on the club-queen lead?


While overtricks might be possible if trumps break well, South decided to protect himself against a 4-1 break. He ruffed the club in hand and led a low heart to dummy’s king. When this held, he could afford to abandon trumps. Even if they broke 3-2, he was happy to lose three trump tricks. He set about cashing diamonds. If West had not ruffed any of those, declarer could have later crossruffed in the black suits, and West could have made his three trump tricks whenever he liked. When West ruffs in, he has two choices. He can reduce declarer’s trump tricks by playing ace and another trump (of course, giving up one of his own trump tricks), or he can sit back and wait for two more trump tricks. Neither option beats the contract.

ANSWER: The double of two clubs suggests the majors and at least an eight-count. The simple call of two hearts would not really do justice to your hand. Your extra shape and crisp honor-structure argue for inviting to game. Three hearts is not forcing, but it seems to be the least you can do here.


South Holds:

K 6 4 3
K 10 9 4
A 8 6 3


South West North East
1 2 Dbl. 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