Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: None

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


South West North East
1 2 3 Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: King

“Seek not out the things that are too hard for thee, neither search the things that are above thy strength.”

— Ecclesiasticus 3:21

These days the proliferation of bridge events, even at the smaller tournaments, means that everyone can find a competition where they have a chance to win. For example, today’s deal is from a 99er pairs (for those with fewer than 100 masterpoints) that was held at the 2006 Chicago Summer Nationals. To succeed, declarer had to employ a strategy that would have been beyond many players in a much higher-level event.


Against four spades (reached after an aggressive limit raise from North) West led the heart ace, then the king, on which the queen dropped from East, and continued with the heart jack. South ruffed in dummy, East overruffed, and when declarer later made the normal but unsuccessful play in clubs, down went the game.


When the heart queen appeared from East at trick two, the danger signals were clearly evident. If dummy ruffed the third heart, an overruff looked certain.


Declarer was unlucky to find the club finesse failing. However, he could have saved himself the decision if, instead of ruffing the third round of hearts, he had discarded a club from dummy, effectively exchanging one ruff for another.


No continuation at trick four can harm South. He wins the return, draws two rounds of trumps, then follows with the ace and king of clubs and a club ruff. He takes the diamond ace, ruffs a diamond to hand, and draws the last trump, securing the contract.

ANSWER: If your partner can compete voluntarily to two hearts, then your 10-count, with nothing wasted in spades, must be worth a raise to three hearts. You have aces and a useful doubleton to offer your partner. Don’t be surprised if he makes game should he bid on.


South Holds:

5 3 2
10 2
A J 8 4 2
A J 9


South West North East
  1 NT 2 2


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