Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


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

Opening Lead:K

“Man can improve himself but never will himself be perfect.”

— W.H. Auden

The Brighton Summer Congress in England often uses prepared hands from other tournaments in its side games. A recent event used the hands from a television tournament, where eight well-known players had competed in an Individual.


In today’s deal West led the diamond king against four hearts. With two sure club losers, declarer hoped to find at least one of the missing spade honors with East for his game. South won with the ace, immediately ruffed a diamond, played a heart to hand, ruffed the last diamond, then drew the outstanding trump. Next came ace and another club.


Declarer hoped that West would win at least one of the two club tricks on offer and so be endplayed either to lead a spade or proffer a ruff and discard, allowing South to pitch a spade from one hand while trumping in the other.


But East was on the ball and, identifying South’s strategy, cashed just one club trick before returning a spade. When South ducked, West won with the queen and returned a club to East’s king for a second spade through.


Can you spot a better line? Duck the first diamond, then win the club return, and cross to a high trump to lead ace and then jack of diamonds, throwing dummy’s two remaining clubs away. West can exit with a second trump, but you win in hand and ruff a club, cross to a heart to ruff a club, and then take the spade finesse to endplay West.

ANSWER: Your partner’s cue-bid shows real extras and is looking for help in determining the right level and strain. He could be interested in no-trump, hearts, or either minor. For the time being, your decent club support means you can bid three clubs and let him develop the hand further if he wants to.


South Holds:

J 10 5
Q J 9 8 6 4
A 8 6


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 1 2 Pass
2 Pass 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