Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, August 3, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: None

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


South West North East
  1 1 3
3 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening Lead:K

“This was the most unkindest cut of all.”

— William Shakespeare

There are many reasons for not taking a trick immediately. Today’s deal demonstrates two ways that ducking may cut the defenders’ communications. First, let’s look at four hearts. Against that contract West led the club king, then switched to the diamond jack.


Declarer had to hope that West, who opened the bidding, had the spade ace and that ducking in diamonds would cut East-West’s communications. He could cover the diamond jack with dummy’s queen, and then duck if East played the king, but this would risk losing a diamond ruff if West had started with a singleton. It looked better for declarer to duck the diamond jack completely. He then won the diamond continuation, drew trumps, and knocked out the spade ace. West could win but was unable to put his partner in to cash the diamond king.


In the other room West elected to sacrifice in five clubs over four hearts. Since four hearts had been made in the other room, West rated to pick up a swing; but for it to be significant, declarer needed to escape for one down.


North led the heart king and switched to the spade queen. South played the king and declarer ducked. He won the spade continuation, drew trumps, and led the diamond jack and let it ride. When South won the ace, he had no spades left. So declarer could repeat the diamond finesse and establish a spade discard for himself for down one.

ANSWER: On this auction declarer rates to be trying to ruff spades in dummy and to be very short in hearts. Your best bet might be to lead trumps at once; leading a heart might cost an important tempo and there does not appear to be anywhere for declarer to discard his heart losers. I would lead the eight rather than a smaller trump.


South Holds:

Q 2
J 7
8 7 4
K 10 8 6 4 3


South West North East
    1 1
Pass Pass 2 3
All 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