Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E-W

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


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

Opening Lead: 3

“A truth that’s told with bad intent

Beats all the lies you can invent.”

— William Blake

One problem of being known as a great player is that your opponents will think you capable of doing just about anything. You may get away with some mistakes, but equally, you will not be able to fool your opponents that easily.


That bad luck befell Maria Erhart of Austria in today’s deal from the 2000 Venice Cup semifinals against the Netherlands (the eventual winners of the event). She found the best defense, but she was playing against someone who was not going to fall for a subtle falsecard.


In the other room Austria had played one no-trump from the North seat and had made 11 tricks on a heart lead. However, three no-trump by South on a spade lead from Erhart was not so comfortable. Van der Pas took the lead in hand and played a club, intending to cover West’s card, but Erhart found a challenging counter when she put up the club queen on this trick. Van der Pas had to take dummy’s ace and now had to decide what to do at once since she did not have the entries that would permit her to cross back to hand to play a club up. Had she led a low club from dummy, the defense would have collected five tricks in the minors sooner or later. But she knew Erhart was capable of the deception, so she eventually decided to lead the club jack from the table, pinning the 10 and making her contract.

ANSWER: Just because you have a strong hand does not mean your side has a fit, or that you will do better declaring than defending. When you bid two clubs, you suggested you had a reasonable hand. But you have no extra shape, thus no basis for bidding again. So pass in tempo and hope your partner can balance with three clubs if appropriate.


South Holds:

K 9
A K Q 3
9 4
A J 9 8 6


South West North East
  1 Pass 1
2 Pass Pass 2


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