Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: None

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


South West North East
    Pass 1
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead:2

“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

This week’s deals all come from the 1999 Women’s Trials. The final match in the event decided who would be the second team for the United States in the World Championships taking place in Bermuda the following year. After trailing by 30 IMPs, the Allison team put together two huge final sets to win comfortably. Here is a deal from that match.


Beth Palmer reached four spades, facing the challenging opening lead of a heart. Since East had overcalled in that suit, the chances of the finesse succeeding were slim, and Palmer wanted to be in dummy at trick two to play trumps to best advantage.


So she went up with the heart ace, pitching a diamond from hand, and advanced the spade queen, covered all around. Next she led the diamond queen from hand, and East won the king and returned the suit to West’s ace.


Now a club shift was essential, but West exited passively with a heart. Declarer ruffed high, drew the last trump by crossing to the spade nine, and stripped off the diamonds, ruffing high again.


Finally, Palmer passed the club 10 to East. When that player was in with the queen, she was endplayed. She could exit with a low heart, allowing declarer to pitch a club, or with a top heart, allowing declarer to ruff and cross to dummy’s third trump to take the discard, or could lead a club into dummy’s tenace. All of these plays would let the contract through.

ANSWER: This sequence is a splinter, showing a singleton diamond and a slam-try. Your hand is as good as it could be, with no wasted values in diamonds and great trumps, so simply bid Blackwood, uncouth as that may appear from a balanced hand. If partner cannot make slam facing this hand, he did not have enough for his previous bidding!


South Holds:

Q 9 4
A Q 7 5
10 8 7
A J 4


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 4 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