Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, January 2, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: All

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


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

Opening Lead:Q

“Hope is a subtle glutton;

He feeds upon the fair;

And yet, inspected closely,

What abstinence is there!”

— Emily Dickinson

The spade queen was led against four hearts. Declarer won with dummy’s ace, drew trumps, and the contract appeared to hinge on finding the club queen onside, since declarer surely has three top losers in the side-suits — one spade and two diamonds.


However, giving himself an extra chance, South first tried a low diamond toward dummy. As no honor appeared from West, declarer tried the effect of inserting the eight. When this forced East to take the trick with the king, declarer was home. A low spade from East to West’s 10 was followed by the club 10. South won, then led the diamond queen to knock out the defense’s diamond ace. At this point South had established two winners in his hand, on which to discard dummy’s losing clubs.


Declarer’s diamond play looks illogical, as if he were creating an extra loser for himself. But in practice his maneuver was unlikely to cost since he was going to have two top losers in the suit anyway, whatever he did. Had the diamond eight lost to the nine, South would still have lost only two diamond tricks, and there was always the club finesse in reserve. (Notice there is also a second-degree assumption here: East could not have the ace and king of diamonds as well as the club queen. If he did, given that he also held the spade king, he would surely have opened. So leading to the diamond eight was not likely to cost the contract.)

ANSWER: Your partner has shown a 5-6 hand pattern (or conceivably a strong 5-5 with good clubs and bad spades), and your four trumps are enough to commit the hand to game. With no controls in the red suits, I think a simple jump to five clubs is adequate. (With a first- or second-round red-suit control, you might bid four clubs to give partner space to show his hand.)


South Holds:

9 4
Q J 7 6 4
Q 8
K J 5 4


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 2 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