Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: None

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


South West North East
1 NT Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening Lead:8

“You don’t make a poem with ideas, but with words.”

— Stephane Mallarme

Sometimes it seems as if experts use magic to locate the missing cards, but there are often clear clues in the early play.


Incidentally, you may care to note North’s decision, with his poor hearts and strong side suits, to use Stayman rather than transfer, and only play in hearts if there was a 5-4 fit. All routes led South to three no-trump today, though.


West did well with his opening lead, choosing a passive diamond. Declarer won in hand and played a spade to dummy’s queen. When that held, he played a spade back to his ace and a third spade, knowing that West would have to win any spade trick and could not attack hearts.


West won his spade jack, cashed his spade winner (East pitching a heart, then a diamond), and continued with another diamond. Declarer won in hand and paused to consider. If clubs broke 3-3, there was no problem, but if not, he had to decide who held the heart ace. If it was East, then declarer must cross to dummy in clubs and lead a heart before setting up too many winners for the defense. If it was West, then an alternative line would be needed.


West’s decision to defend passively argued for his having a good hand — and thus knowing his partner was weak. Accordingly, declarer cashed all his minor-suit winners, ending in hand, then got out with a club. West could cash the club jack, but at trick 12 had to lead from his heart ace around to declarer’s king.

ANSWER: The jump to four clubs is a slam-try and a splinter. It shows a shortage of clubs and a raise of hearts, suggesting an extremely strong hand. While some of your club values might be wasted, you seem to have enough to cue-bid four diamonds, since that effort is below the level of game.


South Holds:

Q 8 3
7 6 5 4 2
K 6
A Q 9


South West North East
  1 Dbl. 1
2 Pass 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