Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, June 29, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: Both

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


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

Opening Lead:J

“Necessity and chance

Approach not me, and what I will is fate.”

— John Milton

Are more contracts lost by drawing trump too late or too early? It is hard to say, but a little learning can often be a dangerous thing.


One standard bridge play is to generate extra trump tricks by ruffing losers in the short-trump hand. When those losers can be discarded on other winners, such plays may be unnecessary at best and at worst countereffective. In today’s heart game, South has a third-round spade loser. There are two ways to get rid of it: on dummy’s diamonds or on the fifth club. The key here is to avoid losing too many trump tricks.


Accordingly, South wins the diamond lead in dummy and does NOT cash the second diamond — there will be time enough for that later on. His sole focus will be to hold his trump losers to two. The best way to do that is not to lay down the ace — that would look silly if East had a small singleton trump — but to lead to the 10. West will be happy to win his bare trump jack and will elect to defend passively by returning a diamond (although a spade would have forced declarer to rely on a trump break). Declarer wins the second diamond on the board, pitching a spade, and leads a heart, covering East’s card. South still has a spare trump to ruff the next diamond and can draw trumps successfully.

ANSWER: There is no reason to lead anything but a diamond. My choice would be the seven (the four may be too tough for partner to read). This way, partner should be able to avoid finessing against dummy and losing a trick to a singleton honor in declarer’s hand.


South Holds:

10 4 2
Q 9 2
7 4 3 2
A J 2


South West North East


2 All 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