Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
  1 Pass Pass
Dbl. 2 Pass Pass
3 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening Lead:K

“What passes for optimism is most often the effect of an intellectual error.”

— Raymond Aron

Against your optimistic contract of four spades, West begins with three top hearts. East produces the queen on the second round and discards a small diamond on the third round as you ruff with the spade eight. Trumps are 3-2, with West having three. As West is certain to hold the club king, given East’s initial pass, is there any way to make your game?


It will do no good to play ace and another club, ducking in the South hand. Even if West has the doubleton club king, you will lose the fourth round of the suit.


You need to try something else. The only way to make the contract is to lead a low club from the South hand, finessing dummy’s nine when West produces the seven. East wins with the club jack or 10, but after dummy’s ace drops the king from West, you can then finesse the club eight on the third round, making the contract.


Beware! If West is good enough to play the club king from his doubleton on the first round, you will have to win with dummy’s ace and lead low to the club eight on the second round. This wins against West’s original holding of king-doubleton so long as West has a small card with his king. Yes, it loses to West’s K-10 or K-J, but if West has been brilliant enough to find the play of the king from either of those holdings, he deserves the fruits of such deceptive play.

ANSWER: Your partner’s auction focuses on whether you can raise clubs, or can stop diamonds for no-trump, or if you have a suit so good you can rebid it again. Here your club support is entirely adequate to give preference to three clubs. If your partner has delayed heart support, he will show it next. If instead he probes for no-trump by bidding the fourth suit, you can co-operate by showing your half-stop next.


South Holds:

10 9 3
A K J 10 5 3
Q 10
K 7


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
2 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