Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
3 Pass 4 4 NT
Pass 5 5 Pass
Pass 6 6 Pass
Pass Dbl. All Pass  

Opening Lead:K

“And time remembered is grief forgotten,

And frosts are slain and flowers begotten.”

— Algernon Swinburne

There may be only one major team-event left that still uses aggregate scoring and not IMP scoring. The Hubert Phillips Bowl in England is a mixed, pivot, knockout teams competition. Here is a deal from a recent final of this tournament, where both tables had done well to sacrifice in six spades over the cold six diamonds.


At one table West led the club king and a second club. East won the ace, laid down the diamond king (on which West signaled to show five diamonds), then continued with a third club, which South ruffed high. Declarer drew the outstanding trump, after which she knew that East could not hold more than two hearts. So South cashed the heart ace, ruffed a diamond back to hand, and led a heart. When West played low, South put up the queen, knowing that if East won with the king, he would have to give a ruff and discard. That held the loss on the board to 500 points.


In the other room, after a diamond lead to the king, East continued with ace and another club. West won and switched to a heart. With the club queen established for a discard, declarer could have guaranteed getting out for 500 by rising with the ace, but he got greedy and played the queen. East won the king and played a third round of clubs, killing the discard, so declarer had to lose another heart at the end. That meant a penalty of 800 and a swing of 300 aggregate points.

ANSWER: You have the perfect shape and values (albeit a minimum in both respects) with which to make a takeout double. You cannot guarantee that you will reach a good spot, nor can you be sure that pushing your opponents up a level will generate a good result for you. But you can be sure that failure to try in situations like this will make you an easy opponent to play against.


South Holds:

A Q 10 6 3
A Q 4
7 4
Q 7 4


South West North East
1 2 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