Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: None

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


South West North East
  1 Pass 2
3 All Pass    

Opening Lead: K

“The things we know best are those we have not learned.”

— Marquis de Vauvenargues

A deal from Eddie Kantar’s most recent book, “Take Your Tricks,” demonstrates that sometimes the count in one suit leads to an exact count in all four suits.


Consider today’s three-club contract: the clue is in the opening bid. Once you see six diamonds between your hand and dummy, you have a complete count of both opponents’ hands. East would not raise a minor suit in an uncompetitive auction without at least four-card support, so West must have three diamonds, and therefore should be 4-4 in the majors with a doubleton club. Knowing this might help you in the play, to say the least!


The defenders play three rounds of diamonds (East contributing the ace on the third round). You ruff and cash two top clubs (very happy to see the 10 and queen appear from West since that leaves you with a tenace over East) and lead a heart to dummy. Now you ruff a diamond low as West discards. You have reduced your trumps to two, the same number that East has left.


You play a second heart now, and West can do no better than win and exit with a spade. You win in hand, cross to a top spade in dummy, and lead the heart queen, intending to pitch your last spade. East must follow suit helplessly, and now in the two-card ending the lead is in the North hand. You lead a plain card from dummy and must score your club nine en passant.

ANSWER: Partner’s jump to three hearts is invitational, suggesting 10-11 points and a six-card suit. You may be minimum in high cards, but your doubleton trump and excellent controls make this a clear raise to game. A doubleton trump may not sound great — but it is much better than it might be!


South Holds:

A J 7
10 2
8 7
A K 9 5 3 2


South West North East
1 Pass 1

2 Pass 3



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