Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: Both

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


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

Opening Lead: King

“Has not (wisdom) come from the dying out of the power of temptation, rather than as the results of thought and resolution?”

— Anthony Trollope

In today’s auction North’s jump-shift followed by a new suit was a cue-bid for spades, since the partnership had the agreement never to jump-shift with a two-suited hand.


That got his side to slam, but pinpointed the heart lead for the defense. Now they were threatening to cash their heart winner on getting in with the spade ace. Obviously, declarer could not draw trumps before trying to discard his losing heart. So he played on side-suits to get his discard, an approach that turned out to present more problems than might have been expected, given the bad side-suit breaks. However, today’s declarer, with careful planning, was equal to the task.


Declarer won his heart ace, unblocked the diamond ace, and went to the club ace to lead a top diamond, ruffed and overruffed. A second club to dummy’s queen let declarer lead a diamond, again ruffed and overruffed.

Now declarer ruffed a club in dummy, led a fourth diamond, again ruffed and overruffed, and finally crossed his fingers before leading the club king and ruffing it in dummy.


Finally, something went right for him: East could not ruff, so declarer was in dummy to lead the fifth diamond and pitch his heart loser. He could now claim 12 tricks.


Notice that declarer has to ruff his winner to get to the board. It does him no good to pitch on the club king since there is still a heart loser left in both hands if he does.

ANSWER: It looks natural to bid two diamonds now, but with such a bad suit it may misdirect partner and get him off to the wrong lead. An alternative is to double. Since one spade was a forcing call, this double cannot be for penalties; instead it suggests values, heart tolerance and some diamond length. It is sometimes referred to as a snapdragon or competitive double.


South Holds:

9 7 6 5 4 3
J 10 4 3


South West North East
  1 1 1


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