Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


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

Opening Lead:3

“Early rising is no pleasure; early drinking’s just the measure.”

— Francois Rabelais

All this week’s deal come from the Las Vegas Summer Nationals, to mark the 2009 Summer Nationals currently being held in Washington. But I’m going to set you a slightly unusual problem today. Have a look at all four hands then decide whether you want to defend or declare in the normal game contract of three no-trump. When you’ve made up your mind, I’ll tell you what actually happened at the table.


Erez Hendelman and Melanie Tucker were defending three no-trump in this deal from day two of the Spingold Knockout Teams. Tucker started the defense off on the right track when she led a low heart, and the 10 forced out the queen. Declarer now tried a club to dummy’s queen and exited with a low spade, Hendelman playing the king! Now what could declarer do? If he ducks, a heart through the South hand leads to immediate defeat. If he takes the spade king with the ace, he can never get back to his hand after clearing the suit.


Note what happens if East ducks his spade king. Declarer puts in the spade 10 and loses the trick to West, who can do no better than shift to a diamond. Declarer wins in dummy and runs the spades via a second finesse. Then a club toward dummy’s king produces the ninth trick for declarer, and the defenders are helpless.

ANSWER: Were you tempted to double to get into the auction at a low level? It is generally a good idea to bid whenever you can sensibly do so — but this is not one of those occasions. A double of one major guarantees tolerance for the other major — in this case, at least three spades. So you must pass and hope for a second chance later.


South Holds:

7 4
9 8 5
A K J 2
K Q 7 4


South West North East


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