Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dealer: East

Vul: All

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


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

Opening Lead:K

“Had it been his sister,

No one would have missed her.”

— Anon.

At the Dyspeptics Club neither North nor South did anything outrageous to reach four spades. But the unfortunate duplication in the heart suit meant that the defenders appeared to have the upper hand.


At trick two West could think of nothing better to do than try to set up a club winner for his side after East had followed with a small diamond at trick one. So he switched to a low club, and declarer won in dummy and played a trump. Since West had no way to reach his partner’s club winner, declarer could draw trumps and set up North’s diamond winners to discard his clubs.


At the end of the deal East inquired whether West was expecting to use a secret passage to reach their club winner. Neither defender noticed that there was a way to set the game. Can you see it?


The bidding should have made it clear to West that he could not hope for more than the club queen from East. After cashing his second high diamond (there was also a chance that East had a singleton diamond), West must try to prevent declarer from getting two discards on dummy’s high diamonds. He should lead a third diamond at trick three, win the first round of spades, and lead a fourth diamond so East could trump. The only hope is that South started with four clubs and that one discard would do him no good. As the cards lie, this would set the game.

ANSWER: This hand looks too good for a simple call of two spades, (but if you were 3-3 in the minors, you might make that call). You have just enough to jump to three spades. This suggests a shapely hand, since with more in high cards and less shape you might start by doubling one no-trump or cue-bidding two diamonds.


South Holds:

K 10 9 8 7
6 5
10 9 8 7


South West North East
  1 Dbl. 1 NT


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