Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: None

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


South West North East
    Pass Pass
1 Pass 2♣* Pass
4 All Pass    
*Drury: a maximum pass with heart support

Opening Lead:K

“Sailin’ ’round the world in a dirty gondola

Oh, to be back in the land of Coca-Cola!”

— Bob Dylan

If a contract looks impossible, relinquishing the lead to the opponents at an appropriate moment can have a remarkable effect. In the 2001 Bermuda Bowl the VuGraph audience in Paris applauded when Jacek Pszczola (then of Poland, now of the United States) known to everyone as Pepsi, brought home his contract of four hearts against Indonesia, despite the vile trump break.


The contract was the same at both tables, both Easts having intervened in diamonds. In the Closed Room, after a diamond lead taken by the ace, declarer cashed a top heart and discovered the poor break. He continued with a spade to the nine and jack, and now the contract had to fail.


On VuGraph, West led the club king, won by South. After the heart ace had brought the bad news, Pszczola exited with his club jack to West’s queen. Declarer won the diamond switch in dummy, ruffed a club to hand, then finessed the spade queen. He ruffed dummy’s last club, then cashed the diamond and spade aces.


Now came a third round of spades to East’s jack. In the three-card ending, dummy had three trumps, while declarer held the K 9 of trumps plus the spade 10. West had Q J 7 of trumps left, and whether East led a spade or a diamond, West could do no better than ruff high to prevent dummy’s 10 from scoring. Then he was forced to lead a heart into declarer’s trump tenace: contract made!

ANSWER: You may decide to pass and hope to defend, or you may step in at once. If you do bid, remember that you CAN bid two hearts, natural, to show a good hand with five or more hearts. This is not a two-suiter: with a double or a jump in no-trump available for the unbid suits, you do not need a third artificial call.


South Holds:

10 8 5 2
A K 9 6 5
A 5


South West North East
  1 Pass 1


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