Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: None

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


South West North East
  Pass Pass Pass
1 Dbl. 1 Pass
3 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening Lead:5

“How can I then return in happy plight

That am debarr’d the benefit of rest?”

— William Shakespeare

Bjorn Fallenius of Sweden has been a resident of New York for two decades and has been a regular player in the Cavendish tournament for many years. When this deal came up in the Cavendish Teams, he found a way to demonstrate how to eat your cake and have it too when he received the lead of a small diamond against his four-heart contract. The first important issue was whether to win or to duck. Fallenius correctly worked out that he could not duck this trick for fear of a heart switch, so he took dummy’s diamond ace. The next question was how best to combine the chances in hearts and clubs. Clearly the contract hinges on holding the combined losers in the two suits to one. The correct answer, which Fallenius found, was to play a low club to the queen, preserving dummy’s club jack.


If this finesse lost, then he would still have the necessary side-suit entry to dummy to pick up the heart king doubleton or tripleton onside, and if the finesse won, as happened in real life, he could simply ruff a club in dummy for his 10th trick. (Note that if he had led the club jack from dummy and the finesse had lost, he would have needed to ruff a club to dummy to to play on hearts; so he would not have been able to pick up a twice-guarded heart king onside.)

ANSWER: Sometimes the simplest answers are best: raise your partner’s reverse into diamonds (which shows a good hand and four diamonds together with five or more clubs) to three diamonds. Your raise is forcing to game and will let partner describe his hand further so that you can work out whether to play in diamonds, spades, or no-trump.


South Holds:

J 10 8 5 3
J 2
A J 4 3
J 6


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 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