Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: All

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


South West North East
    Pass 1
Dbl. 2 3 3
5 Pass 6 All Pass

Opening Lead:10

“First love is only a little foolishness and a lot of curiosity: no really self-respecting woman would take advantage of it.”

— George Bernard Shaw

Should West have selected a suit other than a spade for his opening lead against six clubs? After all, his partner had bid and rebid spades, yet the opponents had still climbed to slam, so surely spades was the one suit declarer had covered in this deal from a recent U.S. Summer Nationals.


Luckily for declarer, West settled for the mundane spade lead, reasoning that partner might have doubled for an unusual lead if that were called for. South tried dummy’s queen — if by a miracle the spade king was onside, both of South’s losing diamonds could be shed. But East covered with the king, and after ruffing, declarer next led a club to the queen. On the spade ace, South correctly discarded, not a diamond, but the heart four.


At this point, the only chance for the contract was a 3-3 heart break. Since dummy’s only entries were in trumps, declarer delayed drawing a second round of clubs until the ace and king of hearts were cashed. Then after a trump to the jack came a heart ruff, East and West both obligingly following suit.


Dummy’s last entry, the club eight, was the access to the 13th heart for a diamond discard, and declarer could now claim his precarious slam.


One further thought: if East had doubled the slam, would West have worked out that he was expected to lead a diamond, not a heart? I think so; the argument might reasonably have been that if East had heart tricks, they could hardly get away.

ANSWER: The range for a nonforcing response of one no-trump to an overcall of one spade is 7-11. With a balanced 5-6 points, you can pass. (Game will not make if partner cannot start by doubling the opponents, then bidding a suit.) Equally, to jump to two no-trump requires a full opening bid, since an overcall could easily have fewer than 10 high-card points. So this hand is a normal maximum for a call of one no-trump.


South Holds:

9 8 7 5
Q 6 3 2
Q J 8


South West North East
  1 1 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


Mike ArthurJune 6th, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Hi Bobby, pls settle an argument on the best way to play this trump suit to only lose 1 trick and maybe make them all

dummy: QT4

declarer: A98732

I say leading from dummy towards hand is the way

others say drop the A bomb!