Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, August 24, 2009

Dealer: East

Vul: All

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


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

Opening Lead:4

“We must try to trust one another. Stay and cooperate.”

— Jomo Kenyatta

The world championships have just started in Sao Paulo, so all the deals this week will come from the final stages of recent world championships.


To start with, let’s compare how well the top-class defenders coped with an apparently simple problem.


Antonio Sementa (South) followed the auction shown, while his counterpart made a weak jump overcall in spades and collected 170. At this vulnerability, I prefer Sementa’s route, although it got him to four hearts, the wrong game. Can you see how the defense should go?


Declarer would surely have ruffed the third round of diamonds, ruffed a club in hand, then drawn trumps and played a spade up toward the queen to make 10 tricks. But after two rounds of diamonds and a spade shift (Boguslaw Gierulski playing for the legitimate chance to set the hand), Sementa was stuck. He could not ruff a diamond and a club in hand and draw three rounds of trump ending in hand. He did his best by taking the ruffs and drawing two trumps, but West could win the spade king and give his partner the ruff.


Does that defense look easy to you? Well, at the six other tables where the deal was played, the final contract was four spades once (making 11 tricks) and four hearts five times. On each occasion but one, where four hearts was declared, the defenders led diamonds. Two of the four pairs of defenders got it right; the other two pairs did not. I suppose the defense is not that easy to find!

ANSWER: Lead a trump, trying to kill the spade ruffs in dummy. Your double was aggressive though not unreasonable — but you had better hope partner has some values and length in diamonds to prevent declarer from getting those ruffs or you will have some ‘splainin’ to do!


South Holds:

Q 10 6 5
A 10 7
8 5 3
A J 4


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