Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dealer: East

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead:4

“’Tis beauty calls and glory leads the way.”

— Nathaniel Lee

In this deal from the 1999 Women’s Trials to select the teams to play in the Venice Cup in Bermuda, all four South players in the finals and those in the match for the once-defeated opened four spades, and all the West players led a red suit.


The thrust of the defense should have been obvious on the lead of the diamond jack, since declarer was known to hold the diamond queen. Therefore the defenders had to go after hearts as a source of tricks. It is still not so easy to shift to a low heart, but on balance it must be the right play. If you cannot cash two heart winners, how will you beat the contract? Nonetheless, most defenders failed that test and declarer came home with her game.


In the main final, Jill Meyers had a much tougher problem as East on a low diamond lead from West, since she did not know who had the diamond queen. She took the diamond ace and worked out to underlead her heart ace. Randi Montin took her heart king and returned the heart 10, and Meyers overtook when declarer ducked in dummy. Now Meyers judged correctly to play a third heart, which forced declarer to ruff with the spade nine, letting Montin discard a club.


At this point declarer could cross to the spade king and pitch her two losing diamonds on the top clubs, but could not exit from dummy without generating a trump promotion for the lowly spade eight! Down one.

ANSWER: Do not focus on your lowly four points. Facing a two-level overcall, you have enough fit and values to compete to three clubs without fear of running into a penalty. Never sell out too cheaply when you have values and a fit. Who knows whether that extra level of competition may turn a minus score into a plus?


South Holds:

8 7 6
K 10
J 10 5 4 2
6 5 2


South West North East
  1 2 Dbl.
Pass 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