Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, March 15, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: All

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


South West North East
    3 Pass
3 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening Lead:J

“All tragedies are finished by a death;

All comedies are ended by a marriage.”

— Lord Byron

To mark the spring nationals now taking place in Reno (you will be able to follow some of the action on, all the deals this week come from last year’s spring nationals at Houston.


When Kit Woolsey gives you a deal, you can be sure there is either a fine technical point or a good joke. This deal falls into both categories. Kit, South, after his partner had opened three clubs, produced the technically correct response of three hearts, which was raised to game. How should you play on a spade lead?


You could rely on the heart jack coming down in three, but if that does not happen, you have a raft of diamond and spade losers. Instead, why not duck a heart at trick two? You should be able to draw trumps easily enough now. This line runs into trouble only if clubs are 4-0 … but look at the East-West cards!


Suppose West plays a spade at trick three. Declarer ruffs and tries to cross to hand with a low club. Alas for him, the defenders ruff in, cash two diamonds and two spades, get another club — down four!


The good news for Woolsey was that West won the heart jack and, played back a trump for minus 680. In the other room, South responded three no-trump to the pre-empt and played there on a spade lead for plus 720. One IMP to Woolsey’s opponents.

ANSWER: The four-diamond call is a cue-bid, showing slam interest. Best practice here would be for this sequence to DENY a club control. West’s sign-off suggests no club control, so you need to cash club tricks at once. The lead of a low club is normal, but just in case dummy has king-third of clubs, the lead of the queen might be best.


South Holds:

7 6 5
Q 8 2
J 10 9 3
Q 8 4


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