Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: None

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


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening Lead:2

“One problem after another presents itself and in the solving of them we can find our greatest pleasure.”

— Karl Menninger

In today’s deal, from last year’s World Junior Pairs in Budapest, East had a difficult defensive problem. To his credit, he solved it at the table without giving the game away to his partner.


Three no-trump by North is far less attractive than three no-trump by South, but some pairs managed to make declarer in the South seat uncomfortable too. Witness Pavel Pekny and David Vozabal of the Czech Republic, who defended well against an Israeli declarer.


West had been put off the diamond lead by the auction since he knew South would have at least four cards in the suit. Which of the black suits would you prefer to lead?


My instinct is that there are more ways for a club lead to gain than a spade. That you have a certain entry on the side means that if a club lead sets the suit up, you have a sure way to get back on lead. The same is not necessarily true if a spade lead works well.


In fact, though, West elected to lead a low spade from his ace, and it is difficult to argue with success. Declarer did the best he could by putting up dummy’s jack (a nice play to encourage a defensive error), but East ducked, contributing an encouraging spot-card. West could not be prevented from getting in later on with his club king and cashing out the spades for down one.

ANSWER: Partner has doubled to bring you into the auction and you have a surprisingly good hand — indeed, you have enough to invite game by jumping to three hearts. With the same hand but one fewer heart honor you would bid two hearts, perhaps planning to compete to three clubs over two spades.


South Holds:

J 9 5
A Q 10 9
J 10 5 4 2


South West North East
Pass 1 NT Dbl. 2


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