Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: All

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


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

Opening Lead:5

“Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.”

— Oscar Wilde

In this deal from the 2006 World Mixed Pairs, Sabine Auken of Germany, admittedly receiving less than perfect defense, nevertheless made the most of her opportunities to bring home her game with an unlikely overtrick.


Against four hearts West led the diamond five, a likely singleton in view of proceedings. Auken played low from dummy, East winning with the king and returning a diamond. If West had allowed South’s queen to hold, the defense would still have prevailed, for declarer needs to set up dummy’s diamonds, then access them for black-suit discards. West’s three-card trump holding can thwart this line, so long as the trumps remain intact.


But West ruffed, and now needed to cash the spade ace to hold South to her contract. However, she returned a club, taken by the ace. Needing two entries to dummy, Auken successfully finessed the heart nine, ruffed a diamond with the trump ace, then returned to dummy via the trump king. Dummy’s established diamonds allowed Auken to take the rest.


At another table David Berkowitz (East), playing with Kathy Wei, shifted to a spade at trick two and South put up the king. Wei won her ace and underled her spade queen so that Berkowitz could win his jack. Now David felt obligated to give his partner the diamond ruff. Had he shifted to a club he would have obtained two down instead of one down, but if he disobeyed his partner twice on the same deal, he was worried about the consequences!

ANSWER: Even though your club honors do not look useful, I think you have to raise to three diamonds. This is not so much because you figure game will be good, but because passing, when it is wrong, disrupts partnership confidence. Support with support and you won’t go far wrong.


South Holds:

J 5 4 3
K J 10 7
K J 10 6


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 2 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