Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: N/S

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


South West North East
  2 Dbl. 3
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead:Q

“As I look back upon my life, I see that every part of it was a preparation for the next.”

— Margaret Sanger

Pre-empting is a double-edged sword. It often warns declarer of bad breaks and lets him plan the play accordingly.


After the two-spade call, North might well have preferred to overcall in diamonds, but doubling allowed South to bid a heart slam, expecting to be facing known spade shortage and some heart length.


West led the spade queen, won by declarer with the ace. Declarer now cashed the heart king, observing West’s ominous heart nine, played a diamond to the ace, and ruffed a diamond. The simple line of play at this stage is to hope both red suits come in — cash the heart queen, cross to dummy with the heart ace, and run the diamonds.


However, declarer decided to play for bad breaks. So he continued with a heart to dummy’s ace, then cashed the diamond king, dropping the queen. Now East was likely to have a 3-4-3-3 pattern, so declarer took a losing club finesse.


West won the club king (had he ducked, declarer would have been able to survive by playing ace and another club). West did his best when he played a spade, ruffed in dummy. But declarer now simply played diamonds. If East ruffed in, declarer could overruff, draw trumps, and cross to dummy’s club jack to run the diamonds. East refused to ruff until the very end, so declarer discarded all his clubs before playing a club from the dummy at trick 12, thus ensuring tricks for both his queen and eight of hearts.

ANSWER: This hand is ideal for a call of two spades, suggesting this precise hand pattern and also showing better than a minimum hand. With the same pattern but no club queen, you might simply have raised one spade to two on the previous round.


South Holds:

A 4 2
K Q 8 5 2
A Q 6 3


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
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