Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, April 16, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: N-S

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


South West North East
  2 NT* Pass 3
Dbl. Pass 4 Dbl.
Pass Pass Rdbl. Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: 10

“Though I beheld at first with blank surprise

This Work, I now have gazed on it so long

I see its truth with unreluctant eyes.”

— William Wordsworth

When you lead a singleton 10 in a side suit against a suit contract, your main hope is that partner is going to be able to give you a ruff. It is rare to find yourself still on lead at trick two – but you now have a chance to rethink your defense plan. See if you can match the strategy devised by Terry Weigkricht of Austria in this deal from the quarterfinals of the 2000 World Championships, from where all this week’s deals come.


After an artificial auction Weigkricht found herself on lead to four hearts. The diamond 10 held the first trick as Doris Fischer followed with the five, and Weigkricht realized that the auction and play thus far strongly indicated that she should play a club. It may look natural to play the club ace and give your partner a ruff, but that does not defeat the hand. Declarer can ruff the next diamond high, then draw trumps, and throw all three diamond losers on the black-suit winners. Weigkricht found the accurate defense of leading a low club at trick two. Fisher ruffed and led a top diamond, forcing declarer to ruff high. Now declarer could establish the clubs for only one discard. Whether she drew trumps or not, she would finish one trick short.


At several tables, including that at which her teammates were North-South, the defense shifted to ace and another club at trick two against four hearts, letting through the contract.


ANSWER: Your partner is making a slam-try for clubs, with extra values and long clubs. You showed game-forcing values at your first turn; thus, in context, you have nothing to spare. So bid four no-trump, which is discouraging and not Blackwood!


South Holds:

K Q 9
9 6 4 3 2
8 6


South West North East
    1 1
3 NT Pass 4




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


bruce karlsonApril 30th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I think I could work out the shift to a low club, “could” being the operative word” as whether I would or not is another issue:

Partner is known to have the AKQJ85 (after declarer plays the 7). If he had only five he would overtake and lead his lowest back for a ruff and a club return for another ruff. Further, the play of the 5 may be asking for a club shift as the 8 is available. Is this reasonable logic??

Bobby WolffApril 30th, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Hi Bruce,

I’m sure you could work out the shift to a low club, however the bridge evidence does not leap at you as it will when you gather the necessary detective like reasoning.

From West’s point of view, if partner had a singleton club or the King it would be an easy matter for him to win the diamond and lead his club(s). Ergo he is void and needs you to lead it for him. If so, it cannot be right to lead the Ace and set up declarer’s high clubs and so it follows to lead a small one and wait. Declarer’s original 4 card club holding is not going anywhere. Many important advanced bridge caveats are involved including deductive reasoning and bridge technique. West’s 2NT opening was either a stronger 3 club opening than normal or a 3 level minor suit preempt left up to partner to determine. There should have been an asterisk stating that but again I apologize for not.

East’s double was meant to ask for a club lead, but was lost in the translation. Not unlike a kindergarten class for the Tower of Babel. The enthusiasm is there but the expertise in understanding is in the developmental stage. Before someone writes in and asks “What if declarer was ducking the ace of diamonds?” My answer would wonder why and to what type of hand would he be catering? And thus the battle is joined concerning various arguments among the hope to be inspired group.