Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 10, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 4 Pass
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead:Q

“Sleep is when all the unsorted stuff comes flying out as from a dustbin upset in a high wind.”

— William Golding

One way to take advantage of declarer’s shaky trump holding is to refuse to over-ruff when a defender has as many trumps as the declarer. Today’s deal was created by Terence Reese.


Playing in six hearts, declarer ruffed the spade lead, led a trump to the jack, and found the careful play of returning a low diamond. East did not ruff, so the diamond queen won. A second heart was led to the king and another diamond was won in hand. Now came a club to dummy’s ace, a third diamond to the ace, then a low diamond ruffed by the six. When East wisely refused to overruff, South could return to hand only by ruffing, leaving him with one trump fewer than East and only 11 tricks.


South began the play on the right lines, but his second round of trumps was a mistake. If he had entered dummy with a club at his second and third chance, he would have retained control. If East does not overruff the fourth diamond, declarer still has a trump to return to hand with, and now makes 13 tricks instead of 11. So the best East can do is to overruff and take his one trick.


Reese describes the defense as “obvious” and suggests that most players would have done the right thing, if they bothered to think about it, instead of over-ruffing “in sleep.” I’m not sure I share his confidence!

ANSWER: Bidding again would show considerably more than you actually hold. (A bid of three spades would suggest six spades and an invitational hand, while a call of three diamonds would be game-forcing.) You have a decent lead against a club partscore, so pass and let partner balance with three spades if he has trump support. Otherwise, you should be happy to defend.


South Holds:

Q J 10 7 3
J 10 8 7
J 7 5


South West North East
    1 NT Pass
2 Pass 2 3


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