Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: N/S

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


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 3 Pass
4 Pass 4 Pass
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead:6

“Sometimes I think

I’ll tell him how he’s fooled,

But when I see his eyes, I shrink,

My purpose cooled.”

— Charles Frederick Johnson

During the last 80 years, one of the most testing areas of the game for experts has been to compose and solve par hands — deals for which there is a correct line in abstract. These can be either single-dummy problems, when you see just your hand and dummy, or double-dummy, when you see all four hands.


Today’s deal is a single-dummy problem in six spades, but the published solution was not best. It said that rather than trying to ruff out the diamonds, you should establish the club suit.


It claimed that you should win the lead of the heart jack, pitch the club ace on the heart king, and run the clubs, pitching diamonds. Even if the club king is offside, the solution suggested that you can get all four of your diamond losers away.


But this line would fail if West had started with a doubleton club. Also, given today’s lie of the cards, if West were devious enough to duck the club king twice, he would take the third club and return the suit for East to ruff, killing a vital discard.


The correct line, after you take two successful ruffing finesses, seems to me to draw one trump from hand, then lead the diamond ace and another diamond, planning to ruff your last diamond with the spade queen and claim. Unless trumps are 4-0 and some other bad things happen, this line is virtually guaranteed to bring home the contract.

ANSWER: Your partner has suggested about 10-11 points with four spades. It is not clear whether he has club length, but since you have a little extra and decent club intermediates, as well as help in diamonds, you seem to have enough to bid three no-trump.


South Holds:

Q 3 2
A K 7 4
Q 2
Q J 10 9


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