Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


South West North East
3 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening Lead: Queen

“The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.”

— Thomas Carlyle

At the 2004 Olympiad almost every South reached four spades after opening a flimsy three-spade pre-empt here. At every table West led the heart queen. When declarer ducked, West continued with a second heart, which South ruffed.


Now declarer led the spade jack, intending to rise with dummy’s ace if West followed. The plan would have been to take both top diamonds, ruff dummy’s last heart, and play a spade. Whoever won the spade king would have to broach clubs, or give declarer a ruff and discard.


When West showed out on the first trump, South ducked the spade, and with the club honors divided, there was no further problem.


However, as declarer later admitted, a better line would have been to cash both top diamonds and ruff a heart before playing the spade jack. When West shows out, declarer plays low from dummy and East wins his king. If he returns a spade, South wins in dummy and plays a club to the jack, endplaying West if he has both club honors. If instead East switches to a low club, South ducks and West is endplayed. If East switches to a club honor, South wins, draws trumps, and knocks out the other top club.


Of course, had West switched to a club at trick two, declarer would have had no answer. At some tables South covered the heart queen with dummy’s king and now the killing club switch was easier to find from the East hand.

ANSWER: There is no need to rush into bidding three no-trump. You can always get there on the next round, but you may find out more about your partner’s hand by temporizing with a call of two spades. After all, if you are facing a singleton heart, three no-trump may be no fun at all!


South Holds:

A Q 5
K 8 7
9 8 6 4 2


South West North East
    1 1
2 2 Pass 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