Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 30, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 NT* Pass 2 Pass
2 All Pass    
*14-16 points

Opening Lead:9

“Little fish are sweet.”

— English proverb

From the U.S. Women’s Trials of 1999 (where all this week’s deals come from), watch Lynn Deas at the helm in what seemed like a straightforward contract of two spades. In the other room they had attempted game and gone three down, so Deas was assured of a swing in her favor. But she needed to make eight tricks to convert the board into something worthwhile. And with both black suits lying unfavorably and the diamond ace offside, she had her work cut out to make her partscore.


Holding trump control, West sensibly went for the heart lead rather than her singleton club. Deas won the heart ace in hand and could not afford to cash the heart king in case the defense could force her. So she led the spade queen, and West, Peggy Sutherlin, ducked, then covered the spade 10.


That let Deas win in dummy and lead a club to the queen. She now made a careful play of cashing the heart king, ruffing a heart, and exiting with a diamond to cut the defensive communications.


Then, when Sutherlin won the diamond cheaply to return a spade, Deas took no chances, going up with the spade jack and exiting with the club king. She knew that this trick would be won on her right, and that however many clubs East could cash, she would have to lead a red suit at some point. Therefore, dummy’s spade eight would eventually score the eighth trick en passant.

ANSWER: Here you have enough to bid four clubs, which is natural and forcing, suggesting at least some slam interest. It is easy to see that if partner fits either of your suits, you could easily make 12 tricks — maybe even 13. Thus you have to make one slam try and let partner do the running from here.


South Holds:

A J 8 7 6
6 2
K 9 8 7 3


South West North East
    2 NT Pass
3 Pass 3 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

1 Comment

Albert OhanaApril 1st, 2011 at 9:59 am

Hello M. Wolff,

Please may I ask you how does the opener makes the difference between 4C natural ( 4 or 5 cards ) and 4C control cue-bid with slam ambition in Spades( perhaps singleton, or K, or Ace of Clubs ) ?

Many thanks in advance

Best regards