Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: N/S

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


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
4 NT Pass 5 Pass
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead:Q

“For the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”

— Genesis 8:31

We have all played with partners who, as defenders, think it clever to win a trick with the higher of touching honors, or who play high-low when they have an odd number, etc. They generally succeed only in confusing their poor, long-suffering partners. But at the Dyspeptics Club, East has stated that he has no worries about disconcerting his partner in this way, asking rhetorically how it would be possible to improve on the perfect job nature had done when it came to confusing West.


Look at today’s hand to try to find a way for the defenders to persuade declarer to go down in his six-spade contract. West led the club queen and declarer won with dummy’s ace, planning to cash the ace and king of diamonds and ruff a diamond with dummy’s trump eight. With the queen falling in three rounds, there would have been no further problems. Declarer would be able to draw trumps and concede a heart to make his slam.


However, when declarer started on his plan, East brightly contributed the diamond queen on the second round of the suit. Declarer now logically ruffed a diamond with the spade ace. When East followed with the diamond 10, declarer was very suspicious, but he still did not see any reason to take an inspired first-round finesse of his spade nine. He therefore lost a trump trick as well as the heart ace and went one down.

ANSWER: You have two ways to raise clubs. (Do not be tempted to pass!) The courtesy raise to three clubs suggests a minimum and decent trumps. If you bid two spades, it is a cue-bid (since you can’t have length there), promising a maximum and values in spades. Your two aces and fifth trump should convince you to take the more aggressive position, but either action is acceptable.


South Holds:

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


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 NT 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