Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: N/S

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


South West North East
Pass Pass Dbl. Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
3 NT All Pass    

Opening Lead:9

“Be juster, Heaven; such virtue punished thus

Will make us think that chance rules all above,

And shuffles, with a random hand, the lots,

Which man is forced to draw.”

— John Dryden

The mark of good declarer play is to have a second string to your bow when your intended line of play fails to hit the target.


In today’s deal North’s sequence of doubling, then bidding a suit, suggested 17-20 points and good diamonds. Accordingly, since South had a heart stop and scattered values, he had more than enough to take a shot at three no-trump.


West led a heart as instructed, and East erred by cashing a second top heart (dummy pitching a club) before switching to the club jack. This play had removed East’s only re-entry for a second club play.


Declarer won with the ace, cashed one more top heart, and played a diamond, intending to take the ace, king and another diamond to minimize the possibility of East’s gaining the lead to play another club.


When East showed out on the diamond ace, declarer had to think again. Fortunately, there was an elegant solution available. South cashed dummy’s three top spades and exited with a low diamond to his nine. If West let this hold, declarer would end up with four spades, a club, and two tricks in each red suit. So West took the trick but, after cashing the club king, had the unenviable choice of returning a diamond into the tenace (in which case dummy would be high) or giving the rest of the tricks to declarer by playing a club around to his queen. If he did that, South would cash his three winners in hand.

ANSWER: Opener’s cuebid showed a game-forcing hand, looking for a spade stop or some other descriptive action from you. It did NOT promise heart support. Here, you have a straightforward call of three clubs, implying at least secondary club support and waiting to find out where partner is headed.


South Holds:

10 8 6 3
Q J 10 3
9 8
A Q 5


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 1 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