Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: None

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


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

Opening Lead:10

“The shirt sale and the show window kick at the street with a noise joyous as a clog dancer: the ensemble is a challenge to the ghost who walks on paydays.”

— Carl Sandburg

A few weeks before a recent world championship, representatives from the four English national teams — the open team, women’s team, seniors and juniors — met for a practice session. This was the last board of the weekend.


At one table South responded one diamond to one heart, as I confess I would have done. This resulted in North’s becoming declarer in four hearts. East guessed exceedingly well to lead a club, and that lead beat the contract, as it removed an entry to the South hand, preventing the establishment of the long diamond. Declarer guessed to cash two spades at once to pitch dummy’s club loser, but when West won his diamond ace and played a third spade, the bad diamond break scuttled the contract.


However, at our featured table it was West on lead, and that player chose to lead a spade. Declarer, John Collings for the seniors (who died in 2005), won the spade ace and led a diamond to the 10, king and ace.


West switched to a club. Declarer won with the ace and made the crucial play of ducking a heart. East won and continued a club. Declarer won the king, played a heart to the ace, and then cashed the spade king, discarding a club. A diamond to the queen allowed South to ruff a diamond in dummy, then ruff a club, and ruff another diamond. He could ruff a spade back to hand and lead his last diamond.


East could overruff in diamonds at any stage, but declarer was home, losing just two trumps and a diamond.

ANSWER: Your partner cannot have four hearts (or he would have raised you) or four spades (or he would have bid them over your one-heart response). Your side belongs in no-trump, and it would be mildly pessimistic to raise to only two no-trump, though not entirely unreasonable. But I would simply bid three no-trump and let partner figure out how to make it.


South Holds:

A K J 4
A 7 5 4
6 2
7 6 3


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 1 NT 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