Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: N/S

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


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

Opening Lead:4

“‘I have a whole bag of tricks,’ he said, ‘which contains a hundred ways of escaping my enemies.’”

— Aesop

In today’s deal from the 2009 NEC Cup there was fine declarer play in both four spades and in three no-trump.


Against four spades West’s diamond lead gave nothing away. Declarer, Tadashi Teramoto, finessed, played two rounds of trump (ducked by East), and led an impassive low club from his hand. Fooled by South’s bland countenance, West ducked, and now declarer had his contract with an overtrick. In fact, there was no defense even if West had taken the club queen. Declarer can arrange a heart ruff in hand, and the trump spots are just too good.


In the other room in three no-trump, South ran into the one lie of the major suits that would spell defeat at once on a heart lead if he elected to win the trick. Maybe he should have ducked?


That was what happened when Babu Koneru led a heart and Li Jie, South for the Chinese team, did indeed duck. The defenders cleared hearts (West deceptively signaling for spades), but declarer had no option but to knock out the spade ace. Back came a spade from East, so declarer ran the spade suit, on which Koneru deceptively discarded two diamonds, trying to suggest he did not have the diamond queen. Despite that, declarer still went ahead and took the diamond finesse for his contract, rather than trying to endplay East with the club queen to lead into the diamond tenace. Well done!

ANSWER: If the opponents had stayed silent, you would have responded one spade, of course. When the opponents bid, there is no real need to stretch to introduce a weak four-carder on very minimum values. Don’t tell a soul, but if I did bid, I’d be inclined to raise to two diamonds!


South Holds:

J 10 4 2
9 8 6
K J 3
J 3 2


South West North East
    1 Dbl.


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