Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 27, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: None

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


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

Opening Lead:8

“The delicate balance between modesty and conceit is popularity.”

— Max Beerbohm

This deal was played in a qualifying session of the Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs last fall and offered interesting opportunities for the defenders against each of the major-suit part-scores.


At one table South sold out to three hearts. Declarer won the opening spade lead, played a heart to the ace, then went after diamonds. South took the second diamond and returned a spade, threatening declarer’s trump control. West ruffed in dummy and led the heart jack, but North was able to hold declarer to nine tricks by ducking this trick. Declarer now needed to play on diamonds and give North his ruff to retain control and make three hearts.


The more interesting contract is three spades, which West doubles, then leads a club. After declarer takes East’s club jack with the ace and knocks out the trump ace, East has a problem. A simple but unsuccessful defense would be to find West with the diamond ace — playing declarer to have the heart ace and the diamond king — and so shift to the diamond queen, trying to score two diamonds plus the club king and a club ruff. Equally unsuccessful is to play the club king and another club, giving partner a ruff. That defeats the contract only if partner has two more tricks to cash.


The winning defense is to play South for the diamond ace and singleton heart king, giving partner the club ruff without cashing the club king. Now as long as partner simply returns a low diamond, East-West can defeat the contract.

ANSWER: Your fourth trump and short clubs demand that you compete further. You cannot bid a red suit (that would show only three spades and six cards in that suit) so simply bid three spades. Just for the record: a double by you would be suggesting a defensive hand with only three spades, and would not show a trump stack.


South Holds:

8 7 4 2
A 10 9 6
K 5 4 2


South West North East
    1 Pass
2 Dbl. Pass 3


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