Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 24, 2009

Dealer: East

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
2 3 4 All Pass

Opening Lead:K

“Too late, too late! Ye cannot enter now!”

— Alfred Lord Tennyson

In four hearts, South ruffed the lead of the club king in dummy and paused for reflection. One slim chance for declarer would be to pin everything on the spade finesse and a 2-2 heart break. He could overtake the heart queen with the ace, take a spade finesse, cash the spade ace, ruff a spade high to establish the suit, and play a heart to dummy, hoping that would draw both outstanding trumps.


South preferred to play a diamond at trick two, which East won with the king to switch to a trump. Declarer won in the dummy and played a second diamond. West won with the queen and had no further trump to play. Whatever he did, declarer could come to six trump tricks in his hand, two club ruffs in the dummy, and the ace and queen of spades.


Curiously, when declarer played a second round of diamonds, best defense would have been for East to ruff in. He then plays his last trump, removing the last trump from dummy. Alas for the defense, look what happens to West when declarer wins in hand and plays off his trumps.


In the six-card ending, South leads out his penultimate trump, his other four cards being two spades and two clubs. Dummy has four spades and two diamonds. West must keep three spades and also two diamonds to prevent that suit from being ruffed out, and so must pitch his club. Declarer’s J-10 of clubs can be built into a trick, and the spade finesse sees him home.

ANSWER: If you want to invite, you could transfer to hearts and raise yourself to three hearts. But your intermediates along with your seven HCP plus two for the long suit argue for driving to game. Depending on your methods, you would either jump to four diamonds (I’m a Texan, so you’d expect me to use Texas Transfers) or transfer to two hearts, then jump to game. Beware; some play the latter sequence as a slam try!


South Holds:

J 6
A J 9 8 5 2
10 9
J 10 4


South West North East
    1 NT 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