Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


South West North East
1♣* 2 3 Pass
3 Pass 4 Pass
4 Pass 5 Pass
6 All Pass    
*Strong, artificial

Opening Lead:K

“Time present and time past

Are both perhaps present in time future.”

— T.S. Eliot

This deal is from the 2004 U.S. teams trials. Declarer, Bob Hamman, reached the excellent slam of six clubs after West had pre-empted in diamonds.


West led his top diamond, and it looked like plain sailing to South. Although the lead attacked an entry, declarer intended to draw trumps and cash his top spades to discard a heart and a diamond. If the spades did not break 3-3 (or the J-10 did not fall doubleton), all that would be lost was one heart trick.


However, Hamman was brought up short when the club jack revealed the 5-0 trump break. He cashed the top three spades, discarding a diamond and a heart from dummy, then ruffed a diamond low in the dummy. Confident from the auction that he had now eliminated all of East’s spades and diamonds, he could cash the top trumps and throw East in on the fifth round of trumps. Because that player was forced to return a heart, South’s hand was now brought back to life, and the slam came home.


In the other room South opened with one spade and West overcalled two diamonds. The club slam was again reached, this time played by North, and the lead was the diamond nine. However, after discovering the 5-0 trump break, declarer decided that West must hold the heart king for his vulnerable overcall, and rather than play on spades early on, he finessed in hearts at once and was down immediately.

ANSWER: Your partner’s double suggests defending. (If he had hearts, he would surely bid them now.) Since you have a singleton in his suit and more defense than he might expect (including two trumps), pass, hoping to beat the contract by quite a few tricks.


South Holds:

A 7 6 4
10 5
A K Q 8 6 5


South West North East
1 1 1 Pass
2 2 Dbl. 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