Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


South West North East
1 1 2♠* Pass
3 Pass 4 Pass
4 NT Pass 5 Pass
6 All Pass    
*Game-forcing heart raise

Opening Lead:K

“A masterpiece of fiction is an original world and as such is not likely to fit the world of the reader.”

— Vladimir Nabokov

Today’s deal, played by Tim Seres (1925-2007), truly deserves to be called a masterpiece.


When I was asked how I would play this deal in six hearts, I struggled to find a possible lie of the cards that might bring home the contract, knowing it was a problem, and seeing all four hands. Seres found the line at the table, looking only at his own hand and dummy.


Reaching slam was hardly mandatory — North had overbid. In primitive rubber style, the cue-bid followed by the raise to game should have promised an ace more than North actually had.


After the spade king was led to dummy’s ace, Seres saw he needed West to have two hearts and the doubleton club jack along with both top diamond honors. East’s small spade at the first trick suggested that he had three spades.


Seres cashed four rounds of hearts immediately, then took four rounds of clubs to shake the spade loser from his hand. In the four-card ending, North had a small spade and jack-third of diamonds, and declarer had a trump and ace-third of diamonds. But what four cards was West to keep?


To keep the diamonds properly guarded, West was compelled to reduce to only one spade. Reading the ending, Seres ruffed dummy’s spade to hand and exited with a low diamond. West won and was endplayed to lead away from his remaining diamond honor. Contract made!

ANSWER: Your two-heart call showed a limit raise or better in clubs; your partner’s pass suggested a minimum balanced hand. (He would have acted with a good hand and would have repeated clubs with a minimum shapely hand.) You should therefore not drive to game, but just bid two no-trump, suggesting a balanced hand of about this strength. Let partner decide where to go, if anywhere, from here.


South Holds:

A 4 3
A 3 2
J 7 5
K 10 6 4


South West North East
    1 1
2 2 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