Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


South West North East
1 NT Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening Lead:4

“But far more numerous was the herd of such

Who think too little and who talk too much.”

— John Dryden

In the main final of the 1999 U.S. Women’s Trials, Jill Meyers and Randi Montin had done very well to declare three no-trump from South. On a spade lead that fetched nine easy tricks.


However, in our featured room, Connie Goldberg reached four hearts on the lead of the spade four (third and fifth). Best defense in abstract might be to shift to a club in case partner’s sole asset is the club king, but East cashed the second top spade. When West followed with the spade two to give count, East (correctly, I think) read this as having suit-preference overtones. She shifted to a top club, giving Goldberg a chance to read the position perfectly.


Declarer drew three rounds of trump as West pitched a club, then cashed two more rounds of clubs. In the five-card ending, South now knew that East had begun with only two diamonds. She led a diamond from dummy, intending to put in the seven if East played low; but East was faced with a different problem.


If she played the diamond jack, Goldberg would cover, and West would win and be endplayed to lead a low diamond. Now Restricted Choice principles would tell declarer to put up the diamond nine. If, as happened at the table, East played her diamond eight, then Goldberg could win the diamond ace and return a low diamond. That let East win the diamond jack, but endplayed her to give a ruff and discard.

ANSWER: Jump to three no-trump to suggest a balanced hand with four hearts. Despite your excellent high cards, you have absolutely no slam interest, so you should focus on reaching the safest game. If partner has shape with his four trumps, he can bid on. If not, he will pass; then you would rate to be in the best spot.


South Holds:

Q 9 7
K 10 9 5
A Q 7
K Q 4


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 2 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