Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
Pass Dbl. Rdbl. 3
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: Queen

“There can be no progress (real, that is, moral) except in the individual and by the individual himself.”

— Charles Baudelaire

In today’s deal North’s raise to two hearts was very heavy, but playing the forcing no-trump, he felt he was short of a limit raise and had at least shown values this way. With less, he would have bid one no-trump and then given preference to hearts.


West felt honor-bound to balance, but North redoubled to show extras, persuading South to bid the heart game — “to teach his opponents a sharp lesson.”


West dithered between the black suits for a lead, but luck was not with him when he chose the spade queen. Declarer could see nine obvious tricks, but digging up the wherewithal for a 10th took some doing. One possibility would be to try to steal the diamond king, but in fact there is a sure-trick line, and South eventually observed that it would come from dummy’s diamond spots.


Realizing that he had to preserve dummy’s three entries until they were needed, he won the lead in hand, drew trumps with the ace and king, and then advanced the diamond king.


West won with the ace and switched belatedly to a club. South won in dummy, then played the diamond jack, discarding a club. In with the diamond queen, the defense could cash one club, but South’s spade loser then vanished on the diamond 10.


On an initial club lead, this line would not have worked. West wins the first diamond and cashes the club winners. The defenders collect a diamond or a spade in the ending.

ANSWER: You have already shown a balanced positive but still have some extras. Your choice would be to drive to slam (with either a bid of six no-trump, or five no-trump to get partner to pick a slam). Alternatively, you could advance with four no-trump and let partner pass with a dead minimum. That would be my choice, given your sterile hand-pattern.


South Holds:

K 6 4
Q 7 5 2
J 10 6
A 6 2


South West North East
    2 2
2 NT Pass 3 NT 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