Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: N/S

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


South West North East
  3 Dbl. 4
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead:J

“When change itself can give no more,

’Tis easy to be true.”

— Charles Sedley

This week’s deals all come from the 1999 U.S. trials to select the Women’s Team for the Venice Cup in Bermuda.


A three-club opening from Beth Palmer, who, like her partner Lynn Deas, is one of the world’s most frivolous pre-emptors, did not stop her opponents from reaching the spade game. Still, three no-trump would have been the best contract — and of course doubling four clubs would have been fairly lucrative as well.


On Palmer’s club lead, South won cheaply and crossed to the spade queen, observing the fall of the nine. She then surprisingly ran the spade 10 — it would have been better to lead the spade 10 to the king at this point. Once the spade nine has appeared on the first round of trumps, you have time for the finesse later on, if necessary.


Palmer won her spade jack and had been given the opportunity to make a nice play. She made no mistake when she carefully shifted to the diamond 10, surrounding dummy’s jack, and this was covered all around. Deas returned a diamond to the nine, queen and ace, and that now killed dummy’s entry to the hearts. Declarer could lead a heart, but Deas ducked, cutting declarer’s communications.


Now, whether declarer ruffed a club or played a second heart, she would finish one trick short. She had three losers in the minors to dispose of and, since Deas could ruff the fifth heart, only two places to put them.

ANSWER: It looks natural to bid diamonds and, if partner gives preference to two hearts, raise spades at your next turn. The problem with following that route is that you suggest extra values, since you have bid on over a weak call. It is far simpler to raise spades at once. (Your three trumps and ruffing value offer huge potential in spades.)


South Holds:

Q 10 7
K Q 9 7 5
A J 3 2


South West North East
1 Pass 1 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