Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, August 8, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
1 NT Pass 2* Pass
2 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass
*New Minor, a forcing inquiry

Opening Lead:3

“We’re not blind and we’re not fools. We’re just plain, sensible people who refuse to be fooled by a lot of supernatural nonsense.”

— Eric Taylor

In today’s deal (originally from “More Hocus-Pocus” by Julian Pottage and Erwin Brecher) I underestimated the subtlety of the spot cards. See whether you can do better.


In three no-trump on a diamond lead, declarer plays the queen from dummy and East covers with the king. I decided that declarer must win the diamond ace in case East switches to hearts. The defenders duck the spade nine, win the next spade, and cash some diamonds before switching to a heart. South wins the ace, cashes dummy’s spades, and leads the club 10, intending to take two finesses in the suit and succeeding whenever the king is with East. If West has the king, there is nothing to be done.


In fact, you need to look more closely at the club suit. If you take this line, you will have to find three discards on dummy’s spades. Two hearts are easy, but then which club do you discard from hand? If you throw a small club, you can take only one finesse since you end up in the wrong hand, while if you discard a higher one, you can never make more than two tricks in the suit. (This position is called a one-suit squeeze, by the way.)


That darned club 10 is a snare and a delusion. Without it, it would be clearer that you need to overtake the spade nine at trick two and take a club finesse at once. With the club 10 in dummy, the need to overtake the spade is much less obvious.

ANSWER: Your minimum rebid has limited your hand originally. Do you have enough to go on to game? Your honors are poorly located facing relatively short spades, and with weak trump spots and no side-suit shortage you really have no unexpected extras for partner. So pass three hearts.


South Holds:

K Q J 10 4
A 6 4 2
Q 6
10 2


South West North East
1 2 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