Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, December 18, 2009

Dealer: East

Vul: N/S

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


South West North East
Pass 2* 3 Pass
3 NT All Pass    
*One major, weak

Opening Lead: Take your pick

“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

— Edmund Burke

Today’s deal was well defended by 21-year-old Fiona Brown of Australia, who, partnered by Hugh McGann of Ireland, came fourth in the World Mixed Pairs Championship. Their opponents were 2005 Venice Cup World Champion Daniele Allouche-Gaviard of France, playing with Juan Ventin of Spain.


In third seat at favorable vulnerability, most youth players would have impulsively bid something. The opening pre-empt did not prevent the opponents from reaching three no-trump, but it did give Brown a clue as to what to lead.


Because partner might have competed with three or more cards in each major, Fiona decided that her partner’s most likely long suit was clubs, so she found the logical and devastating opening lead of the club five. Hugh McGann won the king and returned the four to the jack and queen. Declarer made the good deduction that East rated to have the diamond ace. If clubs were 4-4, she had no chance, but if the actual position in clubs existed, she might still be able to block the suit. Therefore, declarer won the second club and played a diamond to the king.


When declarer played a second diamond, West realized that with J-9-8 of clubs, declarer would have played the eight, not the jack, on the second club. Therefore, since East must have the club eight, she discarded her blocking club 10 on the second round of diamonds, letting East run his suit. Three no-trump down two was worth almost a complete top for East-West.

ANSWER: There is something to be said for doubling one spade (for penalties) and then introducing the hearts if the opponents escape to a minor. Equally, bidding two hearts, or even jumping to three hearts directly, would also make good sense. The intermediates suggest that the hand is too good for a simple call of two hearts, so that doubling, then bidding hearts, gets the hand across as well as anything.


South Holds:

J 10 8 4
K 10 8 6
K Q 5
J 9


South West North East
  1 Dbl. 1


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