Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: All

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


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

Opening Lead:3

“A walled hole where fruitless vines embrace

Their parent skeletons that yet survive

In evil thorns.”

— Edwin Arlington Robinson

In today’s deal from the NEC Cup, some pairs played four hearts, and some opted for three no-trump. The no-trump game was an unhappy spot as the cards lay. On a diamond lead the normal play in hearts of leading low to the ace left South down three when the defenders could establish both their spades and diamonds.


In four hearts Michael Barel won the club lead in hand and led a diamond to the 10 and East’s jack. A heart return went to dummy’s ace, and Barel crossed to hand in clubs and played two rounds of diamonds, ruffing, then ruffed a club and played two rounds of trumps to West. That player fell from grace by taking his last trump and exiting in clubs, squeezing his partner in spades and diamonds. A spade exit by West would have broken up the position for the squeeze.


Could declarer have done better? Yes. Tom Hanlon, also in four hearts, won the club lead in hand and he too led a diamond to the 10 and jack. Back came the heart nine, but Hanlon won the heart ace, played the spade ace, ruffed a spade, then unblocked the top clubs. Now he played the diamond ace, ruffed a diamond, then ruffed a club. He had now reduced his hand to a losing diamond and the heart K-J-8. When he exited with his losing diamond, he had assured himself of two of the last three trump tricks. Contract made.

ANSWER: Your partner’s hand is limited by his failure to make a two-club overcall initially. Does that mean you should pass now? Passing is certainly reasonable, but I might raise to three clubs, not so much because I think a club game is likely, but because we might make four spades if partner can give delayed support now.


South Holds:

A 10 9 8 7 6
A 6
Q 10
J 7 6


South West North East
  1 Pass 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