Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: All

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


South West North East
  1 NT Dbl. Pass
Pass 2 Pass Pass
3 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening Lead:K

“I can see with half an eye.”

— Miguel Cervantes

In today’s deal from the Dyspeptics Club, neither North nor South did anything unreasonable to reach a thin game, but it would have required South to find a good play to bring home 10 tricks. Maybe North was optimistic in accepting South’s invitation to game with such bad trumps and a possibly wasted club holding.


Defending to four spades, West cashed two top clubs, then paused for some while, trying to remember if East had echoed in clubs. Eventually he played a third club. Declarer ruffed in dummy and saw the danger of taking a trump finesse. If the cards lay as they actually did, West could win and lead a fourth club, letting East promote a trump trick for his partner by ruffing with his spade nine.


So South played the ace and queen of spades, a good try but not good enough. West won his king and switched to a heart. Declarer tried to ruff the third heart back to hand, but West could overruff for down one.


North is generally South’s sternest critic, but even he was hard-pressed to berate South too sternly on this occasion. Nonetheless, South had gone halfway down the road to success. It was a pity that he had not worked out that he needed to cash the two top hearts before playing the ace and queen of spades. That way, West must put declarer back in hand to draw the last trump, and the contract comes home.

ANSWER: There are two questions to address: Do you want to reopen the bidding, and if so, with what call? Since your side should have half the deck, it is reasonable to bid. Best would be two hearts because of the strong heart spots, rather than doubling for takeout or repeating a five-card spade suit.


South Holds:

A Q J 6 2
10 8
J 8 4
8 7 2


South West North East
    1 Dbl.
1 2 Pass 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