Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 Pass 3 Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead:J

“By using accurate details to imply a misleading picture of the whole, the artful propagandist, it has been said, makes truth the principal form of falsehood.”

— Christopher Lasch

I have seen my fair share of bridge problems during a long and misspent life. As a result I can generally work out the right approach to a declarer-play problem. So on today’s deal I followed what I considered to be the normal bridge-player’s approach. If you want to enjoy the problem fully, cover up the East-West cards.


Declaring four hearts, I won the opening diamond lead in hand and cashed the heart ace. All followed, so I cashed the second top heart and discovered West had the heart length. I took dummy’s top diamond, ruffed a diamond, then exited with a heart. West won and played back a spade. Dummy’s queen won, but when I took the club finesse, it lost. Now I was forced to guess spades to make the game. Unfortunately, I got it wrong.


My inquisitor smugly remarked that I was not the first person to go down on the deal. Can you see my mistake?


After the second top heart, I should have led a spade to dummy’s queen. Then I take the diamond ace, ruff a diamond, and play a second spade. Let’s say I misguess and put the 10 in. East wins and shifts to a low club to the eight, 10 and king. Now I play a third spade, and West is in with his ace. He can cash a heart, but must now lead from his club queen into my ace-jack.

ANSWER: Your miserable 12-count has suddenly blossomed after the opponents guarantee a big heart fit and partner shows a good hand with both minors. My guess is to jump to six clubs. I would like to cue-bid four spades, but that might inconveniently set diamonds as trump.


South Holds:

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


South West North East
    1 1
2 NT 3 4 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