Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, February 19, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


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

Opening Lead:Your choice

“Like one whose doubts

Are chased by certainty, and terror turn’d

To comfort on discovery of the truth.”

— Dante Alighieri

In today’s deal from last year’s Yeh Brothers Cup, would you rather play three no-trump on a club lead, or on a diamond lead? In one room Paul Hackett led the diamond two. Declarer won in hand and drove out East’s heart ace. East shifted to clubs, so declarer put up an honor (taken by West’s ace), ducked the second club, and won the third. Now, after unblocking hearts, he had time to test both red suits. Given the opening lead, it was natural for him to misguess by cashing the diamond jack and leading to the diamond nine. He now had only eight tricks.


In the other room, on a club lead, Tom Townsend won and led the heart queen, taken by the ace. East returned a club and the defenders cashed out the clubs, forcing dummy to pitch two spades, with East erring by letting go a spade. Back came a spade, so Townsend won dummy’s spade king, finessed in diamonds, unblocked his heart jack, and cashed the diamond king. East dropped the diamond queen, the card he was known to hold, trying to fool declarer as to who had the diamond 10.


But when Townsend cashed the spade ace, pitching dummy’s heart, East showed out. Now West was marked with 4-4 in the black suits and had followed to two hearts already, so he could not hold more than three diamonds. Therefore, Townsend successfully played for the drop in diamonds.

ANSWER: Two diamonds is a reverse (showing five or more clubs, four diamonds, and a strong hand). While there is no single agreed way to advance here, raising diamonds should always be played as natural and forcing. So bid three diamonds, planning to pass a continuation of three no-trump, but being prepared to look for a diamond slam if given some encouragement.


South Holds:

K 10 7
K 9 7 6
A 9 7 4
3 2


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 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