Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, May 28, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
3 All Pass    

Opening Lead: King

“This life is worth living, we can say, since it is what we make it….”

— William James

Today’s deal came up in a par contest. West might be tempted to act at his first turn, but with a balanced hand and a soft defensive trick in the suit opened on his right, pass is probably the correct action. At South’s second turn, he can hardly do less than jump to three hearts. Having responded with a weak hand, North should pass the jump-rebid, which is strongly invitational but not forcing.


I will speculate that most East-West pairs would let through this contract of three hearts, but let’s consider how an accurate defense should go.


West leads the diamond king, obviously promising the ace, and East should drop the diamond queen at the first trick, suggesting the queen-jack and a desire to obtain the lead.


So far so good, but when West plays the diamond 10, it is tempting to let that card hold. The right way for East to look at the diamond spots is that partner did not have to underlead his ace. He must want you to win the trick, and the 10 rates to be his only “small” diamond.


At trick three East finds the shift to a trump. Declarer must try to ruff a club in dummy to make his contract so he takes the heart ace and leads a club to the queen and king. A second heart lead by East now prevents the ruff and beats the contract.


Whatever declarer does, he must lose two diamonds, two clubs, and a trump.

ANSWER: There are plenty of people who will tell you with complete confidence that you require six points to respond to an opening bid. But a hand like this demands a response of one spade for many reasons. Clubs could be a silly contract, you might make a spade game, you help to keep the opponents out, and you assist partner in finding the right lead if necessary.


South Holds:

K 10 7 4 3
8 2
6 5 3 2
Q 7


South West North East
    1 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