Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
  2♣* Pass Pass
2 All Pass    
*Natural, 11-15 points

Opening Lead: Ace

“He ventured neck or nothing — heaven’s success

Found, or earth’s failure.”

— Robert Browning

In today’s deal from the 1999 Cavendish, from which all this week’s deals are taken, the defenders added insult to injury.


It is bad enough to stay low and miss a cold game, but when your opponents beat you in the “safe” partscore you have reached, it rubs salt into the wound. After Peter Weichsel’s natural but limited opening of two clubs, Paul Chemla (North) did not have enough to overcall in diamonds. When Christian Mari (South) reopened with two hearts rather than a double, Chemla decided not to explore for the no-trump game. a contract where nine tricks would have been straightforward. Instead, he settled for what he thought was a safe partscore in hearts.


Weichsel led the club ace, an incisive shot, then carefully played the club seven for Alan Sontag to ruff. In situations of this sort, the size of the spot-card West leads should tell East what to play next. Sontag now found the fine move of underleading the diamond ace. (Weichsel’s middle club clearly indicated that he had no preference between the pointed suits; hence, he was likely to have both kings.)


Weichsel won his diamond king, then led a high club, giving Sontag a second ruff. At this point, Sontag led the spade two to ensure one down, setting up the defense’s spade trick before declarer could establish the diamonds for discards.


Accordingly, declarer had to lose three clubs tricks, two diamonds and one spade, for down one.

ANSWER: Your partner had a forcing cue-bid available (a two–heart bid). Two spades was therefore natural, showing a good hand. You now have more than enough to jump to four spades. If your partner foolishly meant the spade bid as artificial, no doubt he will have diamond support and can revert to five diamonds.


South Holds:

Q 9 4
Q 8
Q J 10 7 6
K 4 2


South West North East
  1 Dbl. 1
2 Pass 2 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