Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
2 Pass 2 NT Pass
3 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening Lead:K

“There is always inequity in life … Life is unfair.”

— John F. Kennedy

You and I play that weak twos promise six cards. But some people are less rigid.


In today’s deal a difference of opinion as to the minimum required for a nonvulnerable weak-two opening led to South declaring a dreadful four-heart contract.


West led the club king, East playing the five and South the four. Obviously the contract would have been beaten easily had West continued clubs and given East a ruff. However, it seemed more likely to West that East’s club five was from an original holding of 10-5-3-2, in which case such a defense would merely establish dummy’s queen. So at trick two West switched to the spade 10.


Declarer won the ace and drew trumps in three rounds. He then played a club toward dummy’s queen. West won and, still thinking South held the doubleton club, continued with a second spade. (A third club would disrupt the timing for the squeeze that followed, but one can hardly blame West for failing to work out what was about to happen.)


East won the spade eight and continued with the spade king. Declarer ruffed, and West, to his intense irritation, found himself squeezed in the minor suits.


If he discarded a diamond, declarer would cash dummy’s top diamonds and ruff a diamond, establishing the eight; the club queen would be the entry card to reach it. If West discarded a club, his jack would fall under declarer’s queen and declarer would still have a trump to reach his club winner.

ANSWER: The general rule when you are deciding whether to compete further is that high cards alone are not enough. Here, having your values in your long suits is a plus, but your guarded club queen may work on defense and be useless to you as declarer. With a likely 4-4 spade fit only (and the chance of a bad split), pass and hope to set three clubs.


South Holds:

A J 7 2
9 8
A K 8 5
Q 7 6


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