Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 Pass 2 2
4 Pass Pass Dbl.
All Pass      

Opening Lead:6

“Things that would have made the frame of a less clever man seemed tricks in his hands. It is a mistake to do things too easily.”

— H.G. Wells

When West led the club six against four hearts doubled, East played three rounds of clubs.


South ruffed the third club low and now felt he was in pretty good shape. A trump lead to dummy’s king revealed the 4-0 break, but it did not seem to be an insuperable problem. After he returned to hand with a top spade and finessed in trumps, it was only then that he realized what would happen if he cashed dummy’s remaining high heart and led a diamond from the board. East would take the diamond ace and play a fourth round of clubs, re-promoting the heart jack into the setting trick.


So, without cashing the heart queen, South tried a diamond. East had to duck, and declarer won his king and led another diamond. East took the trick to play yet a third diamond, and now declarer could no longer draw trumps. West ended up ruffing a spade for down one.


If declarer had led a diamond from dummy after getting the bad news in trumps, he creates another entry to his hand while there are still hearts in dummy to prevent an overruff by West, thus circumnavigating the trump promotion. The best East can do is rise with the diamond ace to play a fourth club. Declarer ruffs in hand, takes the trump finesse, unblocks the heart queen, comes back to the diamond king, and draws the last trump.

ANSWER: This double is for takeout. (You can pass only for a penalty double of diamonds.) Your choice is to rebid hearts to show six, or to raise spades, suggesting only three trumps or you would have supported already. Indeed, raising spades at your last turn was a possibility. Given your weak hearts, it looks better to support spades now; you may be able to emphasize the hearts later.


South Holds:

A 5 3
A 10 8 7 6 5
K 5
8 3


South West North East
1 Pass 1 2
Pass Pass Dbl. 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