Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: E/W

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


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

Opening Lead:J

“I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my angel?”

— Allen Ginsberg

It is natural for a Wolff to take a proprietary interest in the three little pigs as they participate in their local duplicate game. All three ended up declaring three no-trump, each receiving the lead of the club jack. Let’s see how they did.


Nine tricks appear to be there without recourse to the diamond suit, but they cannot be accessed without the defense prevailing.


The first declarer won the club ace and played a spade from dummy. When East refused this trick, South overtook and played a second spade. East won and meanly shifted to a heart, leaving declarer with four unavoidable red-suit losers. Down one.


The second declarer also played on spades. East ducked, so declarer cashed one club and played diamonds. The defenders cleared clubs and had five winners. Had South not cashed his club winner, he would have suffered the same fate as the first little pig.


The third little pig played on diamonds. East won and also astutely switched to a heart to the jack, queen and ace. South saw that playing diamonds again would not work. He needed two tricks from hand, in addition to dummy’s seven potential winners.


At trick four, he played a spade from the board. East had to play low — rising with the ace would have given declarer four spades, two hearts and three clubs. South overtook and cashed just one club to pitch a heart. With two extra tricks safely in the bag, declarer reverted to diamonds and now brought home the bacon.

ANSWER: Do you have enough to invite game? If so, in which suit should you advance? There are two simple choices, each flawed. A raise to three clubs suggests four trumps, but gets the values across. A preference to two hearts is an underbid, but not by much since your spade cards do not rate to be working facing shortage. Take the low road and bid two hearts, supporting the suit where game is most likely.


South Holds:

K J 9 8 4
J 4
8 5 4
K Q 7


South West North East

1 Pass 2 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