Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: N/S

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


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

Opening Lead:10

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

— H.L. Mencken

The “Play With the Experts Pairs” at a recent Brighton Summer Congress contained many column-worthy hands. Today’s is one of them.


The auction to six hearts looks normal enough. North’s five-heart call asked his partner to bid slam with decent trumps, and South had just enough to accept. West led the spade 10, and South won with the king.


Although this was a pairs event, it was IMP scoring. Therefore, entering dummy and playing a heart toward hand in the hope of an overtrick if East held the singleton or doubleton heart king was not paramount, but making 12 tricks was of critical importance. Given that, how should you play?


To cater to four hearts with East, the right play is to lead a low heart toward dummy’s queen. If West shows out and the queen loses to the king, two further leads from dummy toward the A-J-8 picks up the 10 and nine.


However, at the table the trump queen would hold, with East showing out. It now appears that there are two trump losers, but there is one chance — a trump endplay on West. For this, West must follow suit to all (or most) of declarer’s plain suits.


Dummy’s top clubs are safely cashed, then the spade ace and a spade ruff stand up. West must also follow to the king and ace of diamonds and a diamond ruff. Finally, a low heart from both hands leaves West on play, forced to lead a trump from his king into South’s ace-jack.

ANSWER: A simple raise to four spades might look sufficient, but it is also acceptable to bid four clubs. (You cannot have just clubs, or you would not have bid two no-trump, and you would have rebid three no-trump at your third turn.) The four-club call is an advance cue-bid, setting spades as trumps and implying suitability for slam.


South Holds:

A J 2
Q 6 4 2
K 5
A K Q 5


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 NT 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