Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, April 30, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: N-S

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


South West North East
1 NT 2 3 NT All Pass

Opening Lead: 10

“Every man desires to live long, but no man would be old.”

— Jonathan Swift

Wales’ two leading teams met in the 64-board final, which featured a husband and wife (Filip and Diane Kurbalija) on opposite sides. The best journalist hand of the match fell to a member of the losing team, Patrick Jourdain, who was declarer.


Against South’s no-trump game, the spade 10 went to East’s queen (yes, ducking might have been a better play), and Jourdain ducked. A switch to the heart nine was covered by jack and queen. Now West switched to a low diamond, attempting to cut communication with dummy.


Jourdain won with the queen and played a high heart, pitching a diamond from the board. West won and played a second diamond (a club would have defeated the contract, but was not easy to find). Jourdain won dummy’s ace and cashed the diamond king, disposing of a club. He then finessed the spade jack and cashed his two hearts, throwing a diamond from dummy.


What could East discard in the four-card ending? If he threw a club, Jourdain would play ace and another club, scoring up the last two tricks in hand with the spade ace and good club. So East came down to a singleton spade. But now Jourdain cashed the spade ace to remove East’s exit card (West throwing a heart), then led a small club. When West played low, Jourdain put in dummy’s nine. East won and had to return a small club, which ran around to dummy’s jack for declarer’s ninth trick.

ANSWER: It looks likely that your side will play five clubs, but it would be premature to jump to game. First of all, repeat the cue-bid in your opponents’ suit, hoping to play three no-trump if partner has a half-stop in diamonds such as jack-third. You plan to bid four clubs next if no-trump looks impractical, suggesting slam interest and club support.


South Holds:

A J 7
K J 10 8
Q 6
A 6 5 4


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