Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: N-S

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


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

Opening Lead: 4

“And now the matchless deed’s achieved,

Determined, dared and done.”

— Christopher Smart

In the quarter-finals of the 2000 Bermuda Bowl World Championships, from where all this week’s deals are taken, put yourself in Jacek Romanski’s seat (East) and cover up the South and West hands to match wits with Zia as declarer.


Against three no-trump Kowalski led the spade four, promising a three-card suit, and Romanski had to decide on a plan. If his partner had a high diamond, the winning defense would be to duck the first or second spade to preserve communications. West would win his diamond to return a spade and let the defenders cash out for down one.


However, if declarer’s diamonds were solid (and the auction had suggested this might be so), then a different defense might be necessary. Romanski guessed very well when he elected to cash two top spades; Kowalski obediently gave suit preference for hearts on the second one by following with the spade seven, and Romanski shifted to a low heart away from his K-J. Kowalski lost no time in winning his ace and returning the suit, to cash out for down one.


In the other room South reached three no-trump by treating his hand as balanced while concealing his diamonds, making a one-no-trump overcall at his first turn. Now the defense stood no realistic chance of guessing what to do on a spade lead. East returned a low spade at trick two, so declarer finished up with 11 tricks and an 11-IMP gain.

ANSWER: It is not clear whether this auction guarantees five diamonds as well as five spades. But given that your partner may need to ruff spades in your hand, your good diamond spots suggest that the 4-3 diamond fit may play as well as spades. On that basis I would pass out two diamonds rather than correcting to two spades.


South Holds:

J 3
Q 10 9 6
10 9 8
A 10 9 7


South West North East
Pass 1 1 1 NT
Pass Pass 2 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