Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: None

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


South West North East
  1 Dbl. Pass
2 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening Lead:K

“To the question ‘What shall we do to be saved in this world?’ there is no other answer but this: ‘Look to your moat’.”

— George Savile

In this week’s deal from Ron Klinger’s new and most entertaining book, “Right Through the Pack Again,” which gives the playing cards distinct personalities as well as a voice, three no-trump would have been easier to make than four spades. West began with the diamond king, ducked in dummy. East played the diamond four, showing an odd number. The Old Master (the real hero of the book) won the second diamond, drew trumps with the spade ace and king, then led the spade four to his queen.


At this point, the narrator of the deal, the spade three, points out that South was careful to preserve this card in his hand, while he followed with the spade six and eight. Meanwhile, West discarded two diamonds.


When a heart to the queen held, the Old Master cashed the heart ace, then exited with dummy’s heart seven. West allowed East’s jack to hold. When East switched to the club three, the Old Master rose with the club ace. Seeing the endplay looming, West ditched the club king, but that did not help. The Old Master led the carefully preserved spade three to dummy’s five and played the next club from dummy. East could take the club queen, but the club jack was the 10th trick for declarer.


The club king now points out that if the spade three had not been preserved, he might just as easily have been the hero of the story — and right he is.

ANSWER: This looks like the sort of deal where finding a 5-3 spade fit would be a good idea. Even if you have no detailed conventional agreement, most people would believe that the only way to stay out of game on this auction is to pass two no-trump. Bid three clubs as a natural and forcing call, expecting partner to show you three-card spade support if he has it, now or at his next turn.


South Holds:

Q J 8 6 3
9 5 3
6 2
A J 4


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 2 NT 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

1 Comment

David WarheitOctober 1st, 2009 at 6:45 pm

The 3 of spades–no hero he. South wins the second diamond, draws trump any old way, CASHES THE CLUB ACE, takes the heart finesse, cashes the heart ace and exits with a heart. Curtains for the defense.