Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 16, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


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

Opening Lead:10

“And now the matchless deed’s achieved,

Determined, dared, and done.”

— Christopher Smart

Of all the hands that won a BOLS brilliancy prize, few, if any, can have been so close to a unanimous choice as the winner of the 1985 award.


Put yourself in East’s seat, defending against three no-trump. Declarer wins the first trick with the heart ace and leads a spade to the jack, as partner follows with the seven. Then South cashes the heart queen, partner suggesting an original holding of five cards, and leads the diamond king, partner showing an odd number of cards in that suit too.


Assuming that declarer has a 5-2-4-2 shape, what should today’s East, Anders Brunzell, do next? Clearly a spade or diamond lead will achieve nothing. The simple move would be to play ace, king and a third club. However, when declarer crosses to the spade king, finds the bad news, and then takes dummy’s heart winner, what would Brunzell discard then? If he pitches a spade or a diamond, it would cost two tricks, and a low-club discard would let declarer establish either the spades or the diamonds safely.


Accordingly, Brunzell switched to a low club at trick six, and West’s nine drove out declarer’s jack. Declarer duly cashed dummy’s spade king, as West threw a heart, and then took the heart king, on which Brunzell discarded his club ace! South now cleared the spades, hoping the defensive communications were broken. But since Brunzell could reach his partner with his carefully retained low club, West had a winning club and heart to cash for two down.

ANSWER: You have spun the roulette wheel once by suggesting both majors and having partner pick the right one. Do you feel lucky? If so, you can try for game by bidding three hearts. But I’d guess that, facing a relatively balanced 12-14 count, our side is high enough, so I would pass. And then there is the possibility that partner might only have three hearts!


South Holds:

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


South West North East
    1 2
Dbl. 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