Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 3 NT Pass
4 Pass 5 All Pass

Opening Lead:K

“You in the West have a problem. You are unsure when you are being lied to, when you are being tricked. We do not suffer from this; and unlike you, we have acquired the skill of reading between the lines.”

— Zdenek Urbanak

North-South bid intelligently to five diamonds. When North followed a delayed route to three no-trump, he showed doubt about the final contract. So South knew it would be wrong to pass with a singleton spade. He could safely show his heart doubleton, since he would have supported his partner earlier had he held three hearts.


West led the spade king, and declarer’s only problem lay in the handling of the trump suit. It is normal to lead low toward the king, then back toward the queen, intending to insert the 10. However, in this deal there were problems with entries. If declarer ruffs a spade to his hand and leads a diamond to the king and ace, he then needs to cross to the heart king to lead a second round of diamonds. But he might need to take the heart finesse for his contract if clubs did not split.


An alternative would be to cash the diamond queen on the second round of the suit, thus leaving the heart position intact in case it is needed later; but then 4-1 trump breaks cause problems.


However, declarer found the best play when he led a low diamond from the dummy at trick two, intending to play the 10 if East played low. When East actually played the ace, it became clear that South had done the right thing, as both of the alternative plays would have resulted in three diamond losers.

ANSWER: To show a limit-raise or better in hearts, you must cue-bid three diamonds. Remember, a jump to three hearts would be pre-emptive (four or five trumps and 4-7 points), not a high-card invitation. In all competitive auctions the jump raise tends to be weak, while cue-bidding the opponent’s suit shows a good hand.


South Holds:

A 7 6 5
K J 10 2
K 5
8 6 3


South West North East
  1 1 2


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