Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: None

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


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 3 Pass
4 Pass 4 Pass
5 Pass 5 Pass
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead:2

“The most glorious exploits do not always furnish us with the clearest discoveries of virtue or vice in men.”

— Plutarch

At last year’s Fall Nationals, slam in this deal was a poor contract whichever major was trumps, since it hinges on playing hearts for one loser.


The expert way to achieve this target is called the intrafinesse (a better shot than finding a doubleton K-Q). In six spades on a club lead, South wins in hand, cashes three top trumps, then goes to the club king and leads low to the heart eight. Next, he wins the diamond ace and runs the heart jack to pin the heart 10.


Of course, that is not the complete story. If you were East, would you think to play the heart 10 on the first round? And if you were declarer and East produced the 10 on the first round of the suit to your jack and West’s king, how would you play the second round? Might you play East for the Q-10 of hearts?


Pride of place from a reporter’s perspective on this deal must go to Andy Bowles of England, who reached six spades. The play went as suggested for the first five tricks. But when declarer led a heart from the board, his opponent did indeed find the deceptive play of rising with the 10. This was covered with the jack and king. Back came a diamond, and Bowles now had to choose whether to play to the heart ace or run the heart eight.


He got it right — primarily, he said, because he did not want to give an opponent the chance to get his name in the papers at his expense!

ANSWER: Your partner showed a good hand when he redoubled one no-trump, say about nine or 10 points, but he could not raise diamonds or double two clubs, and he surely does not have four spades or he would have made a negative double at his first turn. Your side, it seems, does not have a fit, or enough clubs for a double. So pass, and hope to beat two clubs.


South Holds:

K 10 6 2
J 8 2
A J 6 2
A 3


South West North East
1 1 1 NT Pass
Pass Dbl. Rdbl. Pass
Pass 2 Pass 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

1 Comment

Tony MoonDecember 21st, 2009 at 3:48 pm

There is one other reason to play W to hold both KQ. E might be dealt a singleton.