Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


South West North East
1 4 4 All Pass

Opening Lead:K

“This is the hardest of all: to close the open hand out of love and keep modest as a giver.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche

At the Dyspeptics Club, South’s high opinion of his own declarer-play skills is matched only by North’s low opinion. In today’s deal North was a little concerned that he might have missed a slam. So he was less than pleased when declarer went down in game.


Against four spades West led the heart king, and without giving the matter much thought, South called for the ace from dummy. Declarer looked aggrieved when East ruffed, and even more so when the club jack was returned. The queen lost to the king, West cashed a heart, and eventually South lost a diamond to go one light.


Four hearts was a big bid for West to make, vulnerable, and South should have guarded against the bid being based on an eight-card suit. Declarer can afford to play low on the heart lead, and low again on the heart continuation. Should a third heart be played, East ruffs the ace, but South overruffs, pulls trumps, then runs the diamond 10. Although this loses to East’s queen, there is now a diamond available on which to discard the club loser, and declarer’s losses are held to two hearts and one diamond.


Nor does it help the defense if East trumps his partner’s second heart lead and returns a club. South rises with the ace, then draws trumps, again losing just three tricks since a loser can be pitched on the heart ace.

ANSWER: Your partner’s call, opposite your balanced raise to game suggesting 13-15 points, indicates he has slam interest and a good club suit. Your club support may be weak, but your controls are superb and you have a maximum in high cards. So cue-bid four diamonds and be prepared to cooperate in any slam venture.


South Holds:

K J 6
A 8 5
A K 7 6
9 5 3


South West North East
    1 Pass
3 NT Pass 4 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