Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
4 Pass 6 All Pass

Opening Lead:J

“Tricks and treachery are merely proofs of lack of skill.”

— Francois de la Rochefoucauld

The probably apocryphal story associated with today’s deal is that the joker who held the South cards put the club eight into the spades before passing the hand on to the next player to hold them.


The second South, whose eyesight was not the greatest, did not notice, bidding six spades via the auction shown. Only when dummy came down did he spot his error because of the duplicated eights. Still, six spades, in the 4-3 trump fit, was by no means a hopeless contract. After West leads the heart jack against the slam, how you would play the contract?


Declarer won the opening lead in hand and weighed the options. Others might have attempted to ruff two hearts in dummy, then discovered that there was no convenient route back to hand to draw the rest of the trumps. Leading a club to the queen also fails, since West holds the king.


What declarer did worked far better: at trick two he ducked a diamond from both hands, catering for that suit breaking no worse than 4-2.


East won and returned a trump, but South took this in hand, and played king and another heart, which he ruffed with the spade ace. He then overtook the spade jack to draw the rest of the trumps. Now dummy’s four diamonds tricks allowed him to discard his losing heart and his two small clubs. He took four spades, three hearts, four diamonds and one club trick.

ANSWER: Now is not the moment to worry about going for a penalty. Your objective is to make the opponents guess at an uncomfortable level what they should do, before they have had a chance to exchange information. You must jump to four hearts (no pussyfooting around with a pass or a raise to three hearts!) and let them sort out what to do from there.


South Holds:

6 5 3 2
J 10 9 2
J 5
K J 9


South West North East
    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