Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 NT* Pass 4** Pass
4 All Pass    
*14 – 16
**Texas transfer to hearts

Opening Lead:6

“To generalize is to be an idiot. To particularize is the lone distinction of merit — general knowledges are those knowledges that idiots possess.”

— William Blake

This week’s deals all come from the Mind Sports Games, held in Beijing last year. In today’s deal declarer had to decide whether to play the percentages or to trust his opponents to be honest. In the quarterfinals of a world championship, which way would you go?


In the match between China and Norway, both tables reached four hearts by South after that player had opened one no-trump. No excitement there? Well, when the Norwegians were defending, 10 tricks did not prove a problem after a spade lead to East’s king and a low diamond shift. (This was an unsuccessful, but a very intelligent, shot by East. Imagine West with, for example, nothing but the diamond jack and club king.) However, as the cards lay, South had 10 painless tricks.


But in the other room, on a spade lead, a club shift to the ace, and a club return, declarer cashed the heart ace-king and observed East following on the second round with the jack. Declarer now had a real problem: should he now rely on the diamond 10 to behave, or should he cash the club king to pitch his possible fourth-round diamond loser?


South tried the latter, and when East ruffed in, he was considerably sadder if not necessarily any wiser. In fact, had he ruffed a spade to dummy to draw the last trump and then advanced the diamond king, followed by a diamond lead to the jack, that would have brought home the contract five times in six.

ANSWER: Whenever you have four trumps and a weak hand in a competitive auction, you should consider pre-emptively raising a five-card major or an overcall to the three-level. Admittedly, this hand is not ideal; you do have a defensive trick and your trumps are weak. But quantity outweighs quality — make the jump raise.


South Holds:

9 6 4 2
9 7
8 5 4
A J 7 4


South West North East
  1 1 Dbl.


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