Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


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

Opening Lead:J

“Actors must practice restraint, else think what might happen in a love scene.”

— Cedric Hardwicke

Against four spades partner leads the heart jack to declarer’s king. At trick two, the club six is played to dummy’s king, partner following with the five. Do you jump on this trick?


If you win the trick, it looks best to return a second heart to the ace. Declarer next plays three rounds of trump, West’s queen winning the third. Partner must play a diamond now, hoping that you have the K-J, in which case you could dislodge dummy’s diamond ace, the entry to the long clubs.


However, you can do no better than win the diamond king and exit with a heart, which declarer ruffs. He then draws the last trump and ruffs the clubs good. The diamond ace remains as an entry to dummy; 10 tricks made.


The key to the defense was partner’s card at trick two. His play of the club five shows an odd number of clubs, so you know the club suit is distributed 5-3-2-3 around the table. (With 10-8-5-4, for example, he should have played the eight to give you the count as clearly as possible.)


If you allow the club king to win trick two, declarer requires two more entries to dummy, one to set up the clubs and one to enjoy the suit. Since the diamond ace is his only entry, he will have no way to access dummy’s winners, assuming best defense. Not capturing honors with honors kills a re-entry within the suit itself and defeats the game.

ANSWER: West’s double calls for East to lead his shorter or weaker major and suggests West has a solid major or the equivalent and a side entry. Since whichever major East leads will find you with nothing, are you prepared to sit this one out and risk a sizable penalty? Run to four clubs and live to fight another day.


South Holds:

7 4
8 5 2
A 10 5
K Q 9 7 2


South West North East
    1 NT Pass
3 NT Dbl. 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