Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: None

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


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

Opening Lead:K

“He can run. But he can’t hide.”

— Joe Louis

Against four spades West led the heart king and switched to the diamond king, East playing the nine to show an even number. Declarer won in dummy and played a second heart. West won the ace and led the diamond queen. Declarer ruffed and played a club to dummy’s jack, which East won with the ace to play a trump. Declarer rose with the ace, dropping West’s singleton king, and thus made his contract. Where did the defense go wrong?


The defenders should not have allowed declarer to place all their high cards. South knew that East could not have the trump king, because he had passed the one-heart opening bid and had shown up with the club ace.


Should East have ducked his club ace? I think so: he should have realized that if his partner did not have a black-suit trick, the contract would be laydown (and a club loser would not go away). However, West should also have taken steps to protect his singleton king. The initial diamond switch was fine, but when he got the lead with the heart ace, he knew his diamond queen would not stand up. (If East had only two diamonds, declarer would have tried to draw trumps and not let the defenders take a diamond ruff.)


A third round of hearts would have put the lead in dummy, and now the best declarer can do is to advance the club jack. If East ducks that smoothly, declarer would probably take the spade finesse.

ANSWER: You have a decent hand, but your heart queen looks wasted. Your first thought might be to jump to five diamonds — but might partner have only a three-card diamond suit? The simple action is to raise to four diamonds and let partner decide which minor he wants to play in.


South Holds:

J 10 3
Q 5 4
A J 7 6
J 9 2


South West North East
  1 2 2
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