Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: N/S

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


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

Opening Lead:K

“My dear old grandfather Litcock said, just before they sprung the trap, you can’t cheat an honest man. Never give a sucker an even break or smarten up a chump.”

— George Marshall and Eddie Cline

Today’s deal from the 2008 Open Trials was a deathtrap for both sides. West might expect to make a large number of tricks in one minor or the other, but he can take only eight tricks in diamonds against best defense. Meanwhile, how does North-South do in the majors? Quite a few pairs attempted slam and were unsuccessful. Even the pair playing four spades could not quite bring that home.


But that contract is makable on best play. What might happen to declarer after two rounds of clubs?


Declarer trumps the second club, leads a spade to dummy, and finds the exceptionally bad news. He follows up by finessing the heart queen. Now the heart ace is followed by a ruff with the trump king, establishing the hearts.


At this point, even though East has more trumps than South does, declarer simply draws three more rounds of trump and plays good hearts.


When East trumps in at his first opportunity, everyone is down to three cards. Declarer has eight tricks in the bag while the defenders have two tricks. East has only diamonds left, while dummy has the diamond K-J and a master club. East is forced to lead a diamond into North’s tenace, and dummy will have the good club queen and diamond king for the last two tricks.

ANSWER: Some might try to persuade you to open this hand one diamond and rebid two clubs. Do NOT listen to them. Unless your four diamonds look like five (these do not) and your five clubs look like four (these do not, although it is close), open your long suit. Plan to raise a response in spades or rebid one no-trump over a one-heart response.


South Holds:

A K 2
K J 8 3
Q 10 6 5 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

1 Comment

David WarheitOctober 4th, 2009 at 12:43 am

Wlhile “best defense” can hold W to 8 tricks in diamonds, ordinary defense allows W to make 10 tricks. If N leads spades at trick one, W ruffs, cashes the club AK, and then cross-ruffs clubs and spades, ultimately endplaying N, and making 2 diamonds, 2 clubs, and 3 ruffs in each hand.