Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
    Pass 1
1 NT Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 3 NT Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: 4

“You can never plan the future by the past.”

— Edmund Burke

Today’s deal from the women’s quarterfinals of the Mind Sports Games last year shows an opportunity missed and one taken.


The Danish declarer elected to play four hearts, not three no-trump. West doubled and led a club to the jack and queen. Declarer laid down the heart ace to find the bad news, then led a heart to the 10 and king, followed by a club to the 10 and a third heart to West.


Now a diamond shift picked up the diamond queen, and declarer led the club ace, ruffed and overruffed. Next came a spade to the king, and two more rounds of diamonds ending in hand. The fourth club allowed declarer to score dummy’s heart eight for her 10th trick.


The French declarer (today’s South) also played four hearts (not doubled) on a club lead, and also cashed the heart ace. Now came a heart to Nevena Senior’s 10, ducked. Senior shifted to a diamond and declarer won cheaply, led the heart nine, covered all around, then played a club to the 10.


In the identical position to the one that had been reached by the Danish declarer, South led the club ace, but Senior found the winning defense when she pitched a diamond rather than ruffing in. Declarer now tried to cash two diamonds ending in hand, but Senior could ruff in for down one.


Had declarer cashed two diamonds earlier, ending in hand, then led the club ace and another club, Senior would have been able to pitch two spades and maneuver a spade ruff.

ANSWER: Do you overcall or pass? My view is that to come in light, you want to have a good lead-director, or to take up bidding space. I would overcall only at favorable vulnerability here. The point is that if I am on lead against no-trump, I will know what I want to lead; but if partner has a good reason to lead either spades or diamonds, I do not want to prevent him from doing so.


South Holds:

J 8 5
K 8 6 5 2
A J 2
5 3


South West North East
  Pass Pass 1


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