Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


South West North East
1 1 2 Pass
2 Dbl. 3 Pass
5 All Pass    

Opening Lead:K

“Between friends, differences in taste or opinion are irritating in direct proportion to their triviality.”

— W.H. Auden

In bridge tournaments England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all compete as separate nations now, though generally as one country in athletic events. While England has been very successful in the last couple of years, the “auld enemy” of Scotland has had its moments too. Today’s hand comes from a victory by the Scots women against a strong French team.


The French South had opened one diamond, which resulted in a final contract of five diamonds. Declarer lost a trick in each minor along with the heart ace, and went one down.


In the other room, Paula Leslie, in the South seat, preferred to open one club and, after a one-heart overcall from West, ended up declaring five clubs.


Here West also started with two top hearts. Leslie ruffed, cashed the club ace, played a club to the king (West discarding a spade and a heart), ruffed dummy’s last heart, cashed the ace and king of spades, and ruffed a spade. Leslie decided that West’s early spade discard suggested she had started with a five-card suit.


It would have been natural, but careless, to finesse in diamonds. However, declarer realized that she could afford to lose a trick to the diamond queen if East held that card, because she would then be endplayed in the two-card ending, forced to lead away from her jack of trumps into dummy’s tenace. So Leslie cashed the ace and king of diamonds and claimed her contract when the queen came tumbling down.

ANSWER: Although the opponents have not found a fit, it would be cowardly to sell out to two spades. You could double for takeout, but you are rather low on defense, and your hearts are nothing to write home about. An alternative is to bid two no-trump. That cannot be natural, of course; instead, it should show both minors and get partner to pick his better suit. Both are reasonable; I prefer the double.


South Holds:

7 3 2
A 9 8 4
K Q 10 8 3


South West North East
  1 Pass 1 NT
Pass 2 Pass 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