Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: None

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


South West North East
2 Pass 2 Pass
2 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening Lead: 5

“Syllables govern the world.”

— Sir Edward Coke

One of my favorite collections of deals this year comes from the fertile imagination of Patrick Jourdain, who is president of the International Bridge Press Association.


For many years he has written sets of problems for Bridge Magazine in the U.K. and contributed a weekly problem for Teletext on Channel Four Television. I shall be running some deals from his book “Problem Corner” all this month. In today’s deal, consider how you should play three no-trump on a spade lead.


If clubs split, you have no problem, so you have only to protect yourself against a 4-1 break. One solution is to lead the club king, then the jack, which works fine if West has length. But if East has the length, he may duck the jack, just as he would if you had started by running the jack as your first play in the suit. Now you have only three club tricks and few chances to get the hearts going.


A better line is to win the spade, play the club king, and (unless East shows out) lead a low club from hand to dummy’s eight! If the defense wins the second club, you can later overtake the club jack to ensure nine tricks. If, on the second club, dummy’s eight wins, but either defender still has the guarded queen remaining, then take a heart finesse. You will later use the club ace as your entry to dummy to take a second heart finesse.

ANSWER: In this sequence your double would be takeout, suggesting values and either both unbid suits or one unbid suit plus support for partner. You would normally require better fit for partner than a singleton, but here you would expect partner always to deliver a six-card minor, or to be able to bid a three-card major if he did not want to repeat his clubs.


South Holds:

K J 6 5 2
K 7 5 2
J 10 3


South West North East
  1 2 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 2010. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact