Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: N/S

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


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

Opening Lead:K

“All that a man hath will he give for his life; and while all contribute of their substance the soldier puts his life at stake, and often yields it up in his country’s cause.”

— Abraham Lincoln

In today’s deal, when West intervened with a natural call of two clubs, North cue-bid rather than double, not being keen on looking for a penalty against nonvulnerable opponents.


That got him to the spade game — but incidentally, had the two-club call been artificial, North would have doubled, using that call as Stayman, with three clubs now being natural and forcing.


West led the club king and, on inspecting dummy, appreciated that partner was bereft of points. Even more disconcerting was to see five trumps in dummy, which meant that the defensive trumps were splitting 2-2. Where was he to go for the fourth defensive trick? West could see just one chance — which involved playing East for the spade 10 or jack.


He cashed his second top club, then played a third. Having seen East’s high-low in clubs, denoting a doubleton, South trumped with dummy’s spade king, then guessed to lead a spade to his jack. West captured this with the ace and played a fourth round of clubs. East did indeed have the spade 10 and cooperatively ruffed West’s club with it. South had no choice but to overruff, promoting West’s spade nine to the setting trick.


If declarer believed West had the spade ace, his only legitimate chance would have been to find East with both the spade nine and 10 by leading a trump to his seven, not to his jack. It would not have worked, but he would have gone down fighting.

ANSWER: This is a tough problem. You are too good to rebid three clubs, you cannot raise diamonds, and you would prefer better heart support than the doubleton 10. The choice is to bid two no-trump with only one spade stop (far from unreasonable) or to bid two spades. Using the fourth suit here not only suggests doubt about which strain to play in, but also suggests a little extra in high cards, so it would be my choice.


South Holds:

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


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 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