Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, April 23, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: Both

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


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

Opening Lead: 7

“I pass with relief from the tossing sea of Cause and Theory to the firm ground of Result and Fact.”

— Winston Churchill

Eddie Kantar, one of the game’s best writers, explains what an expert thinks about when the dummy comes down. If the contract looks nearly hopeless, the expert places the opposing cards where he needs them to be to make the hand. If the contract looks relatively easy, he asks himself what can go wrong and what, if anything, he can do about it.


In three no-trump East plays the spade king at trick one, and the attention shifts to you (South). What is your plan?


Diamonds have to be set up before the opponents can establish three spade tricks. If spades are 4-3 and West has the queen, which is apparent from East’s play of the king, the hand cannot be defeated whether you win the first spade or not. However, if spades are 5-2 and the diamond honors are divided, the hand can be defeated if you take the spade ace. East can win the first diamond and return a spade, allowing West to win the queen and drive out the jack. When West gets in with the other diamond honor, he has the setting trick in spades.


But if you duck the first trick, win the second, and now knock out a diamond honor, you are home free. If East wins the trick, he has no spade to return and the diamonds can be easily established. So, to protect against 5-2 spades and split diamond honors, duck the opening lead. See how easy it is!

ANSWER: The jump to four clubs shows six good clubs, four hearts and extra values. The simple way forward is to use Blackwood. Yes, you have no diamond control, but how can partner not have a one? Even if he does not, who is to say that the opponents will lead that suit?


South Holds:

A 10
K Q 7 4
9 6 3
K Q 6 2


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 4 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 2010. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact