Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: E/W

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


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

Opening Lead:4

“Preserve it as your chiefest treasure.”

— Hilaire Belloc

Bridge axioms aren’t always right, but more times than not, they are. Here is a perfect example of why “second hand low” makes sense.


Most tables got to six diamonds in this deal from the 2008 Open Team Trials. Unfortunately for North-South, two side-suits are mirrored so there is nowhere to throw the loser — unless East gets nervous and rises with his club ace.


In one quarter-final match,with both declarers in six diamonds, West led a spade to dummy’s ace. At trick two, desperate to ruff out the ace and king of clubs for 12 tricks, Joe Grue led the club three off dummy. East, unable to take the heat, rose with the ace. If declarer held the singleton club king and not the diamond queen, this play was necessary. Here, it was fatal to the defense.


East continued spades to dummy’s king, but Grue led a low club and ruffed in hand, played the diamond seven to dummy, ruffed another club, and claimed when the club king appeared. It was a big swing, since the slam was defeated in the other room.


In the same deal in another match, Zia Mahmood failed by a trick when he drew trumps before leading a club. Now East, Jeff Aker, ducked and hoped for a spade and a club trick. This was worth a swing to his side when his teammates stopped in three no-trump and the defense could not quite run the club suit, thanks to the club blockage and declarer’s seven.

ANSWER: Do you open this hand with a call of one diamond, two diamonds, or pass? The diamond suit is too good for a pass. I’d open one diamond because the hand is so playable in either major. In second seat, or if vulnerable against not, a weak two-bid is permissible.


South Holds:

10 9 7
K J 6
A Q 9 8 7 2


South West North East


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