Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, May 21, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 NT Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 6 All Pass

Opening Lead: 10

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”

— Albert Einstein

The auction to six spades might have been unsophisticated, but the play was interesting.


As South you received a club lead to your queen, then lead a trump to the king to protect against a possible 4-0 break. You drew trumps in three rounds, intending to cash the top clubs next. But what do you plan to discard from hand and what is your plan?


There are a lot of possibilities in both red suits. You can pitch either a heart or a diamond on the clubs, and you have a whole range of finesses you might take. But so long as you make the right discard, then follow up correctly, you can claim your contract.


What you must do is pitch a heart from hand on the top clubs, then run the diamond jack. (Equally valid would be to run the diamond nine, but that gives up on overtrick chances.)


If West could win the diamond queen, a diamond return gives you an extra trick from your eight and nine of diamonds, allowing you to pitch a heart from dummy. But a heart or a ruff and sluff would be immediately fatal.


And if East covers dummy’s diamond jack, then again your eight and nine of diamonds build to a trick on which you can discard a heart from dummy.

ANSWER: This does not look like the right hand with which to bid two hearts. The opponents are highly unlikely to be raising the auction beyond two spades (you have three spades, your partner at least three) so at your next turn you may well be able to bid two hearts and get your limited values across nicely. I’d bid two hearts now if my heart jack were the queen.


South Holds:

J 8 5
K J 4 2
7 6
10 9 8 3


South West North East
  1 Dbl. 1


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