Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


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

Opening Lead:10

“Henceforth take warning by the fall

Of cruel Barbara Allen.”

— Ballads

When opponents have confidently bid unopposed to game and you have an unpleasant surprise waiting for them, it is a bad idea to warn them.


West doubled today’s final contract of four hearts and led the club 10 to the queen, king and ace. South appreciated that West’s double must be based on a trump stack, so set about trying to score his trumps singly.


Declarer led his singleton diamond to dummy’s ace, then ran the spade queen, which held. A diamond was ruffed back to hand, then came the spade ace, a spade ruff with dummy’s heart two, and another diamond ruffed in hand. With seven tricks in the bag, South next played a low club, on which West made the natural move of discarding his last spade, leaving himself with just his five trumps.


East won the trick, but there was no longer any defense to the contract. Whether East played a club or a spade, West could do no better then ruff low. Declarer could overruff in dummy, ruff a diamond with the heart ace, and ruff a club with the heart queen for the 10th trick.


The defenders had missed their chance. When declarer plays a low club at trick eight, West must ruff his partner’s winner, rather than discard, then continue with the heart king! (A low heart would not be good enough.) Now declarer ends up a trick short.

ANSWER: Two spades is an “impossible” bid. Since your partner denied four spades at his first turn, the call is not natural. Instead, it should logically be played as a good raise to three clubs — the direct club raise would suggest more trumps and fewer high cards. You do have aces, but also a minimum. Bid three clubs now and wait to see if your partner can produce a further call.


South Holds:

A 9 2
A 8 7 6 4
A 8 7 6


South West North East
1 Pass 1 NT 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