Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


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

Opening Lead:2

“Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.”

— Mark Twain

In today’s deal from the Dyspeptics Club, South was in his accustomed position as declarer in three no-trump, and West accurately led a spade.


South cunningly won in hand and crossed to dummy with the diamond queen to advance the club 10, hoping West would win the trick and continue with spades. However, it was East who flew up with the club ace and played a second spade. South ducked the trick, won the next spade, and played a second club, won by West, who cashed his long spade. On this, South pitched a heart from hand and a club from dummy, East letting go of the club eight.


If West had returned a heart, South would have rejected the finesse, for if it lost, that would be the defenders’ fifth trick. By rising with the ace, he would have a double chance for nine tricks: Either the diamonds could split 3-3, or, alternatively, the hand with the diamond stopper would also have the heart king. Indeed, as the cards lie, East would be squeezed in the red suits when South cashed his clubs.


However, West found the best defense by playing a third club, not a heart, and declarer cashed his club winners. East deliberately pitched two hearts by playing high and then low. Now, after testing diamonds and finding the bad news, South took the heart finesse at trick 12, assuming that East’s echo in hearts was designed to put him off the finesse. Another player fell victim to the double bluff!

ANSWER: It would be lazy simply to jump to four hearts. A better approach is to cue-bid two spades to show a good hand, then to bid hearts or raise partner to game in hearts. The point is that although you have a balanced hand, you are full value for a game bid, and if partner has extras, you might make a slam. Do not pre-empt partner unnecessarily.


South Holds:

5 4 3
A Q J 4
A Q 2
10 9 3


South West North East
  1 Dbl. 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