Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


South West North East
2 Pass 3 Pass
4 NT Pass 5♠* Pass
7 NT All Pass    
*Two of the five key-cards and the trump queen

Opening Lead:10

“There’s not a joy the world can give like that it takes away

When the glow of early thought declines in feeling’s dull decay.”

— Lord Byron

Are you familiar with the concept of premature euphoria? This is one of two commonly occurring situations at the bridge table when a player fails to focus properly. The first one occurs when partner (or you yourself) have just done something so bad that you lose focus and compound the earlier error. Your second mistake is fatal.


By contrast, premature euphoria arises when your side does something very good — or the opponents do something very bad. You have now virtually ensured success for your side, but euphoria gets in the way and you turn triumph into disaster. Again you have nobody to blame but yourself.


Consider today’s deal. North guesses well to treat his hand as a positive response to the two-club opening, allowing you to take control. Once your partner can show the three top diamond honors, you can count 13 top tricks as long as the diamonds provide five tricks.


On the lead of the club 10 to the ace, you see a bare minimum in dummy, but your calculations appear to be correct. Are you euphoric? Take care to lead the diamond eight to the ace. Then cash a top diamond from dummy and unblock your highest diamond. Under the queen you complete the unblock by playing the diamond five, and finally the diamond four and three in dummy will provide the two long-suit tricks necessary for the grand slam to come home. Fail to unblock even once, and the grand slam goes down!

ANSWER: Things have developed very favorably from your perspective. Your hand looks far too good now for a simple raise to three diamonds. A jump raise to four diamonds looks appropriate since it is hard to imagine ending in three no-trump. The advantage of this route is that if partner bids four hearts now, you can happily pass.


South Holds:

8 4 2
8 7
A K Q 4 3
5 3 2


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 NT 2 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