Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: N/S

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


South West North East
2 4 5 All Pass
*Clubs, 11-15 points

Opening Lead: 2

“At every word a reputation dies.”

— Alexander Pope

On this deal from the 1999 Cavendish Pairs, three no-trump by North is as good a spot as any (if the opponents let you play there), assuming the auction has marked East with both black aces. On a passive diamond lead, you can run the heart jack to establish a ninth winner painlessly.


If you are going to play a suit game, reaching four hearts may not be all that easy, particularly if East-West can pre-empt actively in clubs, as happened at our featured table. And of course the five-club sacrifice would be extremely cheap.


Fred Gitelman found a great extra chance in five diamonds, giving East the missed opportunity for an equally fine defense. West led a heart, providing declarer with a helpful start. Gitelman won in hand, crossed to dummy with a trump to ruff a club, drew a second trump, and then cashed the heart ace to get the bad news that he had a slow heart loser. Now he found the neat maneuver of leading the club king, on which he discarded a low spade from hand. East won his club ace (ducking does not help) and had to avoid giving a ruff-sluff.


So he cashed the spade ace and led another spade, playing his partner for the spade jack, and now Gitelman had a home for his heart loser on dummy’s spade winner — contract made. To beat the game, East had to find the unusual play of underleading his spade A-Q. That would have left declarer with an inevitable loser in each major.

ANSWER: This three-diamond call is forcing. (That you opened one diamond is irrelevant — spades are going to be trump.) The three-diamond call asks for help in diamonds; your partner has three or four cards to an honor and most likely a game-try for spades. You have good controls but nothing else, and only three trumps, so sign off in three spades.


South Holds:

K 10 9
A 6 5 3
K 7 5 2
K 2


South West North East
1 1 1 2
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