Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 2, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
    1 Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
4 NT Pass 5 NT Pass
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead:K

“Think nothing done while aught remains to do.”

— Samuel Rogers

Josephine Culbertson was credited with playing today’s deal. As was the style in those days, the bid of four no-trump showed two aces and the king of a bid suit. The response promised two aces.


West led the club king against the heart slam, and declarer could count only 10 tricks: five trumps, the two sets of ace-kings and the club ace. Even if spades produced an extra trick, that would still leave her a trick short. The only hope for an extra trick was to rely on trumps being 3-2 and to ruff three clubs in hand. This would give her six trump tricks, three on power and three from club ruffs.


So she took the lead with the ace and ruffed a club with the 10. Then she crossed to the spade king and ruffed a club high. Next she played the heart four to the eight and ruffed dummy’s last club with the king. When the clubs proved to be 4-4, her chances had improved. Things looked up still further when she overtook the heart jack with dummy’s queen and both opponents followed suit.


After discarding her losing diamond on the third trump, she continued with the spade ace and then a third spade. All she needed now was to be able to play the spades for three tricks. That would come about if the spade queen fell in two or three rounds, or if East had the length in spades. Her luck was in today.

ANSWER: This is a takeout double, and since you have already denied having four hearts or four spades (or you would have bid at your previous turn), you can bid two hearts now to suggest three trumps. You may not be confident you are going to reach a comfortable spot, but you really can do nothing else.


South Holds:

A K 4
Q 9 8
9 7 6
A 10 8 6


South West North East
1 1 Dbl. 2
Pass Pass Dbl. 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