Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: All

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


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

Opening Lead:6

“But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restored and sorrows end.”

— William Shakespeare

Today’s deal arose at rubber bridge in the United States, where multiple world-champion Benito Garozzo of the famed Italian Blue Team now resides.


Nine tricks can be taken at no-trump, but after careful exploration, neither North nor South fancied three no-trump without a club stop between them. The game they finally chose was the Moysian fit of four spades. West led the spade six; plan the play.


Admittedly, had Garozzo inserted dummy’s nine, he could have run 11 tricks, but he had another plan in mind: the spade six was allowed to win the first trick! Puzzled, West now switched to a heart, which South won in hand. A trump to the ace found both defenders following, so Garozzo finished drawing trumps, then ran the seven red-suit winners for his contract.


Garozzo had appreciated that by ducking the first trump lead, he would be in control regardless of the continuation as long as spades broke no worse than 4-2. See what would transpire if Garozzo had taken the ace and king of spades, leaving one trump in dummy to take care of a club attack, and had then gone after diamonds. West ruffs the third round of diamonds, cashes the club ace, then plays a club to East. Now a fourth diamond promotes a second trump trick for the defenders. The alternative of drawing three rounds of trump, then playing on diamonds, allows the defenders to take three club tricks and one trump.

ANSWER: You are in a forcing auction, and your partner’s pass suggested a balanced hand with no clear-cut action. You can bid one spade now, since your partner may easily have four spades, but not have wanted to get in your way. Unless he now shows extras, you will probably end up in a low-level partscore, but there is no need for you to make the decision for the partnership yet.


South Holds:

K Q 4 2
K 6 4
Q 2
9 7 3 2


South West North East
    1 Dbl.
Rdbl. 1 Pass 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