Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 23, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: All

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


South West North East
  1 2* 3
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead:K

“But, for the unquiet heart and brain,

A use in measured language lies;

The sad mechanic exercise,

Like dull narcotics, numbing pain.”

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The most painful way I know to record a small loss in a team game is for both partnerships to reach a high-level but makable contract, and to fail in both instances, as in today’s deal.


Against South’s four spades, West started with two rounds of diamonds. Declarer ruffed in dummy and played ace and another heart. (A low heart to the queen initially would have preserved communications.) West won and continued with a low trump. Declarer won this trick in her own hand and now needed to draw trumps while ruffing a heart high in hand, followed by taking a club finesse. But she tried to cash the club ace. This was ruffed by West, and a second round of trumps left her one down.


In the other room North led a trump against five diamonds doubled. West won in dummy and led a heart to the jack, optimistically hoping to find both honors with South. This line produced only 10 tricks.


A better plan simply needs South to hold at least two of the three high clubs. Win the trump lead in East and lead out the club queen. When South covers, West ruffs, then ruffs a spade, and plays the club 10, covered and ruffed high. After West draws the last trump, another spade ruff to dummy allows the play of the club nine, again covered and ruffed. West can reach dummy with a spade ruff to run the clubs and takes eight trump tricks and three club winners.

ANSWER: Two hearts is fourth-suit forcing, and your choice is to rebid two no-trump to show a heart stop, or to repeat your clubs to guarantee at least a decent five-card suit. I prefer the latter, but if your heart stop were slightly better and your clubs a little worse, bidding two no-trump would make good sense.


South Holds:

K 10 9 2
Q 2
9 3
A K J 6 3


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
1 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