Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: E/W

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


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

Opening Lead:10

“Thou dost leave

The world’s mad turmoil and incessant din,

Where none in others’ honesty believe.”

— Albert Pike

When this deal came up at the Dyspeptics Club, West rejected the idea of leading from his heart queen against four spades, although this lead is scarcely more dangerous than the trump lead he selected.


South won in dummy and passed the diamond queen. West took the trick and belatedly shifted to hearts, choosing the three. East won and decided to return the suit. The contract made, and there was much gnashing of teeth. Who was most to blame for the defensive fiasco?


Today’s lesson is that it is not sufficient to select the right suit, but you must also select the right card. There is a time and a place to confuse declarer, but more important is to let partner know what is going on.


Upon winning the diamond king, West should realize that the only chance to set the contract is if East has the heart ace. To suggest to East that he return a club upon winning the heart ace, West should lead back a high heart, either the queen or the nine. If West leads a low heart, as happened at the table, one can hardly blame East for returning a heart, playing West for precisely king-third of hearts.


Curiously, the defense is only a little easier on the initial heart lead when West will lead a low card, of course. Now the club shift still looks right, but one could understand a defender electing to continue the attack on hearts.

ANSWER: Your partner has forced to game and has shown long clubs and four spades. The simple way not to mislead your partner about what you have is to give preference to three clubs. Your trump spots suggest you have the equivalent of three-card support, and since your call is economical, it will give your partner a chance to describe his hand further at a convenient level.


South Holds:

K J 8
8 7 5
Q J 10 9 8
J 9


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