Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: None

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


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

Opening Lead:5

“Better to sink beneath the shock

Than moulder piecemeal on the rock.”

— Lord Byron

We are just about to start the San Diego Fall Nationals, so to mark the occasion this week’s deals all come from the Fall Nationals 12 months ago.


In the second round of the Senior Knockout Teams, both tables reached three no-trump in today’s deal. Both Easts were presented with the opportunity to disrupt declarer’s communications, but only one of them made the correct play.


Richard Popper (East) resisted the temptation to win the battle and lose the war. His partner had dutifully led the spade five against three no-trump, and this was ducked around to Popper’s queen. Popper continued with the spade king, even though he knew full well that it would set up declarer’s jack.


He made that play because he could see that it might be essential to dislodge the side-suit entry from dummy to prevent the run of the clubs.


And so it proved: after the second top spade, the club suit remained blocked. Declarer won dummy’s spade ace, unblocked the club king, and tried to use the heart queen as an entry to dummy: down three!


In the other room, Ken Cohen played three no-trump, but from the North seat, on the lead of the spade king. When Cohen ducked, East shifted to a low diamond. Cohen went up with dummy’s diamond king, unblocked the club king, and had 10 tricks when clubs split 3-2.

ANSWER: The simplest way to describe this hand is to jump to four hearts, so long as your agreement is that this sequence shows a minimum hand with no slam interest. There are other (perhaps better) ways to use that jump to game, but sometimes simplicity and elegance do not go hand in hand.


South Holds:

J 8 6 3
A 8 2
K J 9 6 5


South West North East
    1 Pass
2 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