Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, September 11, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: All

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


South West North East
  2 Pass Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
3 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening Lead:K

“Life is short, the art long, opportunity fleeting, experiment treacherous, judgment difficult.”

— Hippocrates

Singleton trump honors can be a mixed blessing. If a defender holds the singleton trump ace, it is often clear that it should be unblocked as soon as possible, but such a play is harder when the singleton honor is the king or queen.


After his opening bid to show six clubs and fewer than 16 points, West led a top club, played a second top club, then a third club. On this trick East thought for a while, then ruffed with the nine and was overruffed. Declarer now cashed the two top hearts, ruffed a heart, took the king and ace of diamonds,s and led a low spade. When East followed low, declarer decided that East’s pause at trick three indicated he had started life with a top spade honor; therefore, whichever honor West had was singleton. So he played low, and West had to win and was endplayed. Whatever he led gave declarer a ruff and discard, and dummy’s last diamond disappeared.


West missed his chance to beat the game, though in practice few would have found the defense. He could have shifted to the spade king, leaving declarer with no chance as the cards lay. While it is true that unblocking the spade king would have worked well on this layout, West might have looked rather foolish if declarer had held better spades and weaker diamonds. However, perhaps a heart switch at trick two might have given West a chance to find the winning defense later on.

ANSWER: In this auction the call of two hearts is the fourth suit, asking you to describe your hand. You can show support for partner, or promise extra length in your own suits, or bid no-trump with hearts guarded. A single guard in hearts is more than sufficient here, so bid two no-trump. Do not jump to three no-trump, which should show extras, not a minimum.


South Holds:

A J 8 5 2
K 6
K 10 5 2
6 2


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 2 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