Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: N-S

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


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening Lead: 10

“Every man is the maker of his own fortune.”

— Sir Richard Steele

Declarer frequently wants to keep one defender off lead for fear of a damaging shift or continuation and is prepared to invest a trick in the effort.


In today’s deal from a teams match, both Wests led the diamond 10 against four spades. At the first table South won in hand, drew trumps, then took the club finesse. When East came in with the king, he promptly switched to the heart queen, and down went the game.


At the second table South received the same lead. He appreciated the danger if East came on lead, so when East played the diamond six, not the jack at the first trick (would you have worked out to cover your partner’s card as East?), declarer ducked, keeping West on play.


The diamond continuation was won with the ace, perforce, and declarer continued with two rounds of trump. (He left a trump outstanding when the 3-1 break came to light, since an extra entry was needed to dummy.)


A club went to the ace, then came the diamond king, on which South did not discard a heart, but his second club. The scene was set for a ruffing finesse in clubs. East covered the second club, as good as anything. South ruffed, then entered dummy with a trump to discard two hearts on the established clubs.


Had the club king not appeared, declarer would have discarded a heart. If West had possessed the club king, he would not have been able to attack hearts from his side of the table.

ANSWER: Partner’s double is negative, suggesting exactly four spades, whereas a bid of one spade would have shown at least five. Your choice is to rebid one no-trump, showing a balanced hand but suggesting a heart stop, or to bid one spade. That call often delivers four spades but on hands like this, it may be the smallest lie.


South Holds:

A J 9
8 6 3
K 7 5
A Q 10 8


South West North East
1 1 Dbl. 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


RobMay 13th, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Minor typo: South should have three hearts (K94), not two.

Clever deal today–thanks!

Bobby WolffMay 13th, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Hi Rob,

Thanks for the note. The correction is on the way to being made.

Sorry for the inconvenience.