Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: E/W

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


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

Opening Lead: 9

“The reward of a thing well done, is to have done it.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today’s deal from the Mixed Teams shows a useful stratagem, which was missed by the defender who had the chance to shine. The match was between two sponsored teams. One table featured a match-up between a pair from Germany and a U.S.-Poland combination.


In the other room South had played the hopeless four-spade contract, down two on diamond ruffs. But here Adam Zmudzinski doubled one diamond rather than overcalling in spades — an interesting minority choice, though not a bad call. When his partner, Janice Seamon-Molson, cuebid, then introduced her clubs, Zmudzinski headed for three no-trump and received the lead of the diamond nine.


East put up the diamond queen. Zmudzinski ducked, but won the next diamond and went after spades. With the spade honors split, declarer could no longer be prevented from taking nine tricks (since the defenders could not establish either red suit in time) for a big pickup. Can you see how the defenders could have done better?


They had two better strategies: the first route was to shift to hearts at trick two. South must duck (or the defenders get hearts going) and West wins and switches to clubs, setting up a fifth trick for the defense.


But a far easier defense was for East to duck the first diamond, playing an encouraging spot-card. Now when West wins the first spade and continues the attack on diamonds, declarer is helpless.

ANSWER: There is no need to do anything other than make a simple raise to three diamonds. With such square distribution you will not have missed anything if partner passes, and without a heart stop, you can hardly look for no-trump unless your partner can get there on his own.


South Holds:

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


South West North East
    1 1
2 Pass 2 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