Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: All

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


South West North East
  1 NT* Pass 3♠**
4 All Pass    
*13 – 15 points

Opening Lead:K

“Live fast, die young and have a good-looking corpse.”

— Willard Motley

One of the curiosities of the 2008 Summer Nationals was a relatively new national event called the Fast Pairs. Even stranger was the fact that the winning pair is not known for speed.


Neither Adam Wildavsky nor Doug Doub has a reputation for playing particularly fast. However, Doub, declarer in today’s deal, showed that time is not always important. See whether you can match him for low-down cunning.


Against four hearts, the opening lead of the club king drew the club three from East (upside-down count, suggesting an even number). After some thought, West shifted to a heart to dummy’s heart nine and you (East) dropped the eight. What should you do now?


Doub realized that he needed to attack diamonds. If he found the suit 2-2, he would be home, but how could he make it if diamonds were 3-1? Even if West ducked the diamond ace, there would still be no lie of the cards that declarer could cope with. If declarer drew trumps, he would lose two spades; if he did not, he would run into a diamond ruff.


So at trick three Doub ingeniously led the diamond king from dummy and dropped the diamond queen under it, as East perforce played the diamond nine. West decided that his partner had three diamonds, so ducking the trick could not gain. He won his diamond ace and tried to cash out the clubs. Contract made, with an overtrick!

ANSWER: Two spades is forcing and guarantees a good hand. Although you do not have a real club stop, your duty is to rebid two no-trump now, suggesting a club guard. Bear in mind that although you pre-empted, you do not have a minimum hand, so you have nothing to be ashamed of.


South Holds:

J 9
K J 10 6 4 2
Q 9 6 4


South West North East
2 Pass 2 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