Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


South West North East
5 Pass 7 All Pass

Opening Lead:6

“Narrow minds think nothing of importance but their own favorite pursuit, but liberal views exclude no branch of science or literature ….”

— Joseph Henry

If you are considering giving or receiving a bridge book for Christmas, you should put Larry Cohen’s “My Favorite 52” (Master Point Press) at the top of your list.


It is unusual for a book to have so many excellent problems both in bidding and play, but Cohen has given you many more deals than the advertised 52. He also tests you on variations in the bidding and play to give your mind a proper workout.


The very first deal of the book sees Cohen pick up today’s freak South hand. Question 1 asks, “With what should you open this hand?”


Cohen gives you the technical answer: a call of five spades shows a hand with two losers in the trump suit and asks your partner to bid on as appropriate with one or two of the top trumps.


The second question is “What should West lead against the spade grand slam?” A trump must be right. Next, “How should you play the grand slam on a trump lead?


The right answer is to shift to go after diamonds at once. If diamonds split 4-2, you will need to ruff a diamond in dummy.


And the final question: “How should you play six spades, if the defenders lead a club? You ruff and …?” Best is to cash one top diamond and duck a diamond. This way you survive against even a 5-1 diamond break. If instead you cash two top diamonds, a defender could set you by ruffing and playing a trump.

ANSWER: When the opponents double you for penalty at a low level, it is often right to run — if you can see a possible escape route. Here, you may be walking into a big heart-stack. Try three clubs, not expecting it to be any worse a spot than hearts, but prepared to apologize if wrong.


South Holds:

K 9 8 4 3
5 2
Q 9 4 3


South West North East
2 Dbl. 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