Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 31, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: N/S

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


South West North East
  Pass Pass 3
4 Pass 5 Pass
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead:Q

“The world continues to offer glittering prizes to those who have stout hearts and sharp swords.”

— F.E. Smith

From the 2008 Spingold in Las Vegas last summer here is Buddy Hanby declaring a touch-and-go six hearts. Perhaps because East did not double the cue-bid of five diamonds, West started with the club queen, ultimately to his regret. (A diamond lead eliminates any chance for 12 tricks.)


Hanby won in hand with the club ace and advanced the heart nine, slightly worried about a possible club ruff by East. West was on the same wavelength, so he hopped up with the heart ace and continued with the club jack. Hanby was relieved when dummy’s club king held the trick, but there was still a lot of work to do. He ran his trumps, and West had to pitch his diamonds to come down to six cards. (He needed to keep two clubs or else Hanby would cross to the diamond ace and ruff a club, making dummy’s remaining club good. Meanwhile, unless West kept all four spades, Hanby would ruff out the spades to set up dummy’s nine.)


Hanby now cashed the diamond ace, ruffed a club to hand, and in the three-card ending, led out his last trump, with the spade A-2 and the diamond nine in hand.


Dummy had three spades and a club left, so West had to keep the club 10 and discard down to two spades. Declarer pitched dummy’s club nine, keeping the three spades — and East was caught. He was down to spade Q-10-3 and the diamond king and could not make a good discard. Contract made!

ANSWER: North has shown a very strong hand with a long diamond suit. You have no heart stop, but you have a decent club stop and no real extras. For the time being, bidding three no-trump lets partner know about your club values. If he has real extra shape, he can always bid on himself.


South Holds:

K 9 8 5
10 4
A 7 4
K 9 6 5


South West North East
  1 Dbl. Pass
2 Pass 3 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