Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 26, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


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

Opening Lead:5

“I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes.”

— Carl Sandburg

This week’s deals showcase the U.S. Women’s Trials of 10 years ago. It may well be harder to win these trials than the actual world championships.


I thought the defender did very nicely in today’s deal, giving declarer a chance to go wrong.


South ducked the diamond opening lead against three no-trump and won the diamond return. (Ducking might have been necessary on some lies of the cards, even if it made life more difficult here). Now she led a spade to dummy’s king, a heart to the ace, and a second spade. If dummy’s spade queen scores, South gives up a spade and has nine easy tricks, but West threw a wrench into the works when she hopped up with the spade ace and returned a second heart.


Declarer can still survive if she wins in hand and cashes the hearts, then unblocks spades, and leads a club to the king and ace. West can cash two clubs, but the blockage in that suit means that West must give declarer the lead at the end to cash her diamond and spade winner. In fact, South won the heart in hand and cashed the spade, then played a club to the king without taking the heart winners in dummy. West took her club ace and club queen, then exited with a heart to dummy. Declarer could not reach her spade and diamond winners in hand, so East had to collect her club jack at the end for one down.

ANSWER: The auction appears to be one where the opponents have nothing to spare, and the cards are not lying especially well. That being so, a spade lead through dummy will work well enough if declarer has no high spade in hand. Alternatively, a club may be the most passive lead. It may not establish anything, but it will probably not give too much away.


South Holds:

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


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