Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, March 26, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


South West North East
1 2 3 Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead:K

“To throw away the dearest thing he owned

As ’twere a careless trifle.”

— William Shakespeare

Against four spades West led out the three top clubs, East discarding a low heart. West continued with a fourth club, ruffed in dummy with the spade queen as East discarded the heart 10. Now the spade jack and a spade to the ace brought the 4-1 trump split to light. The heart ace was followed by a diamond to the king; then came a heart ruff, East shedding a diamond. South now carefully cashed the diamond queen before entering dummy with the diamond king. A red-suit lead from dummy completed the trump coup, East’s trump 10-6 being powerless in front of South’s K-9.


East’s choice of discards was not best, though I suspect many would have done the same. With 12 points on display in dummy and West having shown nine points in clubs, South had to have the heart ace for his opening bid and the acceptance of the game-try. Also, West would have cashed the heart ace before leading the fourth club if he held that card. Since West surely held six hearts, that left just one for declarer.


See the difference if East discards two diamonds on the clubs. Now when South tries to reach dummy via the third round of diamonds, East ruffs in for the setting trick.


Does that mean declarer cannot make the contract? No; the winning line is to finesse against the spade 10 on the second round of the suit – -not such an unreasonable line if West has six hearts and four clubs.

ANSWER: Standard expert practice these days is to play all doubles under the opponents’ trumps as takeout or card-showing. You may think you would be unhappy if your partner passed now, but bear in mind he would likely have trump tricks and short spades. If so, how bad would it be to defend two hearts doubled?


South Holds:

A K 9 7 4
Q 8 5
10 8 7 3


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 2 Pass 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