Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, October 3, 2009

Dealer: East

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
2* 4 4 NT** Dbl.
5 Dbl. All Pass  
*Spades and a minor
**Asking for a minor

Opening Lead:J

“Nature is under control but not disturbed.”

— Queen Beatrix, on opening a sea barrier

Berry Westra and Enri Leufkens of the Netherlands are the only partnership ever to have won a World Junior Championship and a Bermuda Bowl. They did very well today, first to reach four hearts from East after the four-card major opening, and then to combine well in defense.


North-South’s sacrifice in five diamonds looks very reasonable. Although their opponents’ game could have been defeated, it was never going to be easy for South to lead the spade ace at trick one against four hearts, while five diamonds appeared to be one down at worst. However, despite the big trump fit, five diamonds doubled turned out to be very expensive.


Westra (conveniently sitting West, to make life easy for the journalists) led the heart jack and switched to a trump. Now declarer made the slightly careless play of drawing three rounds of trump, ending in dummy, instead of attacking clubs at once. It is far from obvious why this play is so dangerous; indeed, against most people he would not have been punished. The point is that it looks simple for declarer now to give up two clubs and set up dummy’s suit, but when declarer led a club to his queen, Westra found the fine play of ducking! Westra hopped up with the club ace on the next club play, and led a second heart. Now there were not enough entries to dummy to establish the club suit. With the spade suit similarly dead, declarer finished three down for minus 500.

ANSWER: Unfortunately, your kings may be facing shortage in your partner’s hand, but it is not wise to conceal support from your partner. Raise to three clubs first; worry about future developments later.


South Holds:

K 6 4
K 7 6 3
J 10 9 5 4


South West North East
  1 1 Dbl.
Pass 1 NT 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