Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: None

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


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

Opening Lead:2

“We must laugh at man to avoid crying for him.”

— Napoleon Bonaparte

When this deal came up at the Dyspeptics Club, South very reasonably decided that there was no point in introducing his club suit opposite a passed hand. He just described the main features of his hand with a jump to three hearts, and his partner raised to four.


West led the club two to East’s seven and declarer’s ace. Can you see any likely traps when the trump queen is taken by East’s ace?


After winning the ace of trumps, East continued deviously with the club jack. Declarer, who could not envisage such deception, played his club king before the rats got at it. Alas for him, West ruffed in and there was now no way of avoiding two subsequent losers in the club suit.


I hope that if you had been in declarer’s shoes, you would have seen far enough ahead to sidestep this little trap. All that declarer needed to do was count his tricks — he could afford to lose two clubs, but not three. He should have played the club four under the jack. East would then have the club Q-9 left, and if he continued with the nine, declarer could play low from his hand, and West would be ruffing a loser. Declarer would then lose just two trumps and one club.


Suppose instead that East continued with the club queen. Declarer would cover with the king, and West would then be welcome to ruff. Dummy’s club 10 would be good for a trick on the fourth round.

ANSWER: North’s auction thus far suggests about a 17-count, since if he had any less he would surely have passed your weak-sounding bid. You have plenty in hand to raise two no-trump to three, and no reason to think that any contract other than no-trump will play any better.


South Holds:

A 9 8 7 6
8 5
A 6
10 8 6 3


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