Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: All

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


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

Opening Lead:6

“A swarm of bees who have lost their queen.”

— Christopher Fry

This month the deals used on Tuesdays will all be from Ron Klinger’s latest book, “Right Through the Pack Again.” Each of the deals features one of the 52 cards in a lead role. All of them are trying to rouse the real hero of the book — the Old Master — from a coma.


Here is the tale of the spade queen, told in the first person. How would you fare as declarer with this problem?


“After the lead of the spade six to the king, and the spade jack return, the natural temptation is to rise with the spade queen, expecting East to have A-K-J-10-x-x. The Old Master resisted the impulse and played low after a brief moment’s thought. The defense could take only three tricks and the Old Master finished with an overtrick.


“‘Might it have been right to play you?’” asked the club two.


“’Not if the contract was to succeed,’” replied the spade queen. “’The Old Master’s clear mind instantly saw that if the spade queen won, he would have eight tricks. However, to make more, he would need to find the club king with East, but was that possible?


“‘Surely if East held the spade A-K-J-10-x-x plus the club king, he would have been too strong for a weak jump-overcall. Placing the club king with East as a matter of necessity meant that the spade ace figured to be with West. Hence the Old Master kept me in hand in order to block the spade suit.’”

ANSWER: Just in case you were in any doubt, partner has made an unambiguous penalty double. You made a takeout double of one no-trump, suggesting short spades, so if partner had a suit to bid, he would have done so. Here you have extra values, and your short spades should not concern you. Pass and await what you hope will be a sizable penalty.


South Holds:

A 10 9 3
A K Q J 10
Q J 4


South West North East
  1 Pass 1 NT
Dbl. 2 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