Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dealer: East

Vul: All

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


South West North East
1 2 2 3
3 Pass Pass Dbl.
All Pass      

Opening Lead:6

“I cannot tell how the truth may be;

I say the tale as ’twas said to me.”

— Sir Walter Scott

Joe Grue, one of the most talented players under 30 in the United States, brought today’s deal to the attention of the bulletin staff. He was sitting East playing in a junior tournament, defending three spades doubled, on a heart lead.


The heart six went to the queen, ruffed. Declarer Adam Edgtton of Australia played a low club to the king and ace, Grue switching correctly to the spade queen, which Edgtton won with the ace. After cashing the club queen and ruffing a club, Edgtton ruffed another heart. A diamond to the king allowed another heart ruff. Declarer had managed to score a considerable number of his small trumps, but was not home yet.


When South played his last club, it was ruffed by West’s spade nine. West drew the opponents’ trumps with the king, but had been reduced to leading diamonds, to declarer’s benefit. The contract could no longer be beaten, whether West played the diamond 10 or a low diamond.


The winning defense in this position is far from obvious, but I think West should have found it. Given that the right play would be for East to shift to a low trump from an original holding of the Q-10, West must ruff the club high so that he can underlead in trumps to his partner. Since South will now be out of trumps, East can cash two hearts and set the contract.

ANSWER: You may have only three-card support for partner, but you have more than enough in diamonds to raise to two diamonds. Remember, your partner’s opening bid guarantees four or more diamonds unless he has four hearts and four spades. The auction has made that impossible, so you can be sure that your side has a real diamond fit. Do not sell out cheaply if you can avoid it.


South Holds:

7 4 3
10 8 7 4 3
K J 6
K 2


South West North East
    1 Dbl.
1 1 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