Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: All

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


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

Opening Lead:10

“Four things greater than all things are —

Women and Horses and Power and War.”

— Rudyard Kipling

Today’s deal comes from Ron Klinger’s latest book, “Right Through the Pack Again.” Each deal has an individual hero, but for the most part a playing card takes center stage. For example, here the diamond four is recounting his own story.


“How would you handle this declarer-play problem in two spades? With no attractive lead West had begun with the spade 10. Your average player might win in dummy and take the diamond finesse at trick two. The lure of a finesse is generally too much for most of us, but today it would spell defeat. When the diamonds do not break 3-3, declarer can make only five spades and two diamonds.


“The Old Master did not play like that, of course. The bidding indicated that diamonds were unlikely to be 3-3 and the diamond finesse was virtually certain to fail. With clubs headed by the ace-king, West would have started with a top club. West’s riskier spade lead therefore marked East with the club king. Since East had passed West’s opening bid, East could not have the diamond king as well as the club king. Hence, the diamond king was with West.


“The Old Master took the spade king, cashed the spade jack, crossed to the diamond ace and drew the missing trumps. ‘Then he played me,’ said the diamond four, ‘and when the king was forced to put in an appearance, the Old Master had made his contract.’”

ANSWER: Because of your crisp honor-structure, you are probably worth one more bid. (With the spade 10 you would certainly be worth action.) If so, the clearest way to get your hand across is to bid three hearts, which pinpoints your precise pattern and might get you to the right major-suit game, or indeed to three no-trump if that should be appropriate.


South Holds:

A Q 7 5 3
K 8 4
A Q J 4


South West North East
1 Pass 1 NT 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