Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, June 21, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 1♠* Dbl. 1 NT
2 3 4 All Pass
*Takeout without spades

Opening Lead: 6

“Who can tell the mischief which the very virtuous do?”

— William Makepeace Thackeray

All this week’s deals come from the European Open Championships held at this time last year in San Remo.


Every two years the European Championships switch from being the qualifying tournament for the World Championships to an open event in which players from all over the world can compete. There are teams and pairs, and no restriction on playing with someone from the same country.


Here Agustin Madala and Norberto Bocchi showed a neat defense against a very normal contract of four spades. Madala led a diamond to declarer’s jack, and two rounds of trumps were cashed. Next came the diamonds, West ruffing the third round, at which point it was obvious to everyone at the table that the defenders had to try to cash their winners in hearts and clubs before the rats got at them.


Madala observed that his partner had followed up the line in diamonds and spades, thus denying the two top hearts, when he would have given suit preference by playing high-low. So he needed to resort to trickery.


Accordingly, Madala continued by leading a low club away from his ace, putting his partner in with the club king to lead a low heart. Not unexpectedly on such a defense, South assumed East had the two top clubs, so West’s scanty values had to include the heart ace. South now guessed wrong in hearts and went down.

ANSWER: This double does not ask for an unusual lead such as a diamond. With the suit bid twice on your left already, and with your having both black suits well under control, it simply says you will beat the hand by leading partner’s long suit. So lead the heart nine.


South Holds:

Q 9 7 4
9 2
5 3
J 9 8 5 4


South West North East
  1 1 Dbl.
Pass 2 Pass 2 NT
Pass 3 NT Dbl. All 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