Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 3, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 NT* Pass 4 Pass
4 All Pass    
*11-14 points

Opening Lead:K

“The best is the best, though a hundred judges have declared it so.”

— Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch

In today’s deal look at just the North-South cards and decide how you would play four hearts.


When South opened a weak no-trump, North thought it would be better for his partner to be declarer, so transferred into hearts at the four-level. (These days the expert community plays a two-level transfer followed by a jump to game as a mild slam-try.)


West led the diamond king and declarer proceeded as most of us would have done. He ruffed in the dummy and cashed the heart ace. When West’s queen dropped, he turned his attention to clubs, running the 10, which lost to West’s king. West now switched to the spade 10. Declarer won and played clubs, but East ruffed immediately and continued spades. When declarer played a third round of clubs, East ruffed with his king and cashed a spade, putting declarer one down.


Unlucky, you might say — the game would have made if either hearts or clubs had behaved better. But declarer was actually slightly careless. Suppose, instead of finessing in clubs, he plays a club to his ace, followed by the club queen. West wins and switches to a spade as before. But declarer wins and plays the club jack, which East ruffs to continue spades. The difference now is that declarer has an established club on which to throw dummy’s last spade. East ruffs impotently with his trump trick, and the contract is made.

ANSWER: Bid five clubs now. Your partner has shown opening values and must have at least six clubs to overcall with what you know to be a poor suit. If he has four spades as well, your fitting cards should get you close to 11 tricks, even if he is at the bottom of his range.


South Holds:

A 9 7
5 4
8 7 5 3
A Q J 9


South West North East
  1 2 Pass
2 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