Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


South West North East
1 NT Pass 4* Pass
4 All Pass    
*Texas transfer to spades

Opening Lead:Q

“To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man’s lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?”

— Cicero

Nowadays excellent Daily Bulletins are produced at North American national tournaments. Typically these are edited by Brent Manley and Paul Linxwiler, and they generally include a roundup of past events held in the tournament city.


Today’s deal comes from the 1977 contest in Chicago, where West led the club queen against four spades. Declarer won in hand, took stock, and saw four possible losers, two in each of the pointed suits. One of dummy’s diamonds could depart on South’s third heart honor, so a good diamond guess would be needed should there prove to be two trump losers.


But before he had to concern himself about guessing the diamonds, South started by advancing the spade nine. Mike Passell sat East and knew that South had all the unseen points, barring the club jack. His spades were well-placed, but the diamond position could hardly have been worse from a defensive point of view.


Subterfuge was needed. He captured the spade nine with the ace, then played the ace and five of diamonds. With a parking place readily available for dummy’s third diamond, an unsuspecting South played the diamond king, and rather than risk a possible heart ruff, delayed the diamond discard until he had taken the “safe” spade finesse.


Passell pounced with his spade queen, cashed the diamond queen, and yet another seemingly impregnable contract had been sunk.

ANSWER: This auction suggests good diamonds, but it is not clear whether your partner wants to play spades or diamonds, or is probing for no-trump and looking for heart values from you. Regardless, you have the perfect hand to raise to four diamonds. Let him tell you what his intentions are.


South Holds:

K J 10 8 7 5
8 4
J 10 8
K 4


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