Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: None

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


South West North East
2 Pass 2 NT Pass
3 Pass 6 All Pass
*Medium values, poor suit.

Opening Lead:5

“The cat in gloves catches no mice.”

— Benjamin Franklin

This coming week’s deals are all from the 2008 Las Vegas Summer Nationals, marking this year’s tournament in Washington.


Here is Bob Hamman at work in a slam. How would you play six hearts on a club lead? Hamman won the ace, cashed the top hearts, then took the three top spades, pitching a club. He ruffed a club, crossed to a top diamond, and ruffed another club. When he now led a trump to East’s queen, East had to play a diamond, and Hamman’s diamond loser went away. Declarer’s extra chance of finding East with three spades and fewer than three clubs had come in.


His counterpart, Jeff Aker, received the more challenging lead of the diamond seven. With one fewer entry to dummy, declarer had a choice of lines. He could have duplicated Hamman’s line (but now could cope only with a doubleton club with East, not a tripleton).


An alternative was to win the diamond ace and heart king, then play three top spades, pitching a club. He can now cash the club ace and ruff a club, play a heart to the ace, ruff a club, and exit with a trump, reaching Hamman’s position. Both lines work today, but for what it’s worth, Aker played Hamman’s line. If West had led from a doubleton diamond and had only one heart — the relevant position for the endplay to work — then he felt clubs were quite likely to be 5-2 and additionally spades might have been 6-2.

ANSWER: Sometimes it is possible to complicate matters unduly. In this auction, where you have pre-empted and thus defined your hand, a double by your partner is penalties. It may surprise you to have such good trumps on this auction, but that will be your opponents’ problem, not yours. Pass and await developments.


South Holds:

K 6
K J 8 4 3 2
J 10 2
8 6


South West North East
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