Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: 3

“Amid the pressure of great events, a general principle gives no help.”

— Georg Hegel

Fred Gitelman is perhaps the world’s most successful marketer of bridge via the Internet. He was at the helm today in four hearts, a contract hard to make even when you look at all four hands.


Fred won the spade lead with dummy’s ace and immediately played a heart to his king. He decided that West’s play of the queen was a true card — how many of us would be up to a falsecard here? He therefore switched his attention to clubs, and when he led the king from hand, West obliged by taking the ace, simplifying Gitelman’s task.


Fred took the spade continuation with dummy’s king, pitching a diamond, ruffed a spade, cashed the diamond ace and king, then crossed to dummy with a club and ruffed another spade. Now he led another club to dummy and, in the three-card ending, played dummy’s last diamond. East had the A-10-8 of hearts left, and Fred still had the 9-7 in his hand. Whether East ruffed high or low, Fred would collect another trump for his 10th trick.


Had West ducked his club ace and taken the next round of the suit to return a third club, Gitelman would have cashed the spade king to pitch his diamond loser, then led a low trump from dummy. East can win and force declarer with a spade, but declarer ruffs, cashes both diamond winners, and leads the fourth club. He ruffs it with the heart jack, losing only one more trump trick.

ANSWER: This hand feels too strong for you to pass. I’m not sure if a double of two clubs should deliver a fourth trump on defense, but that seems to me to be the best call with this hand. Since the opponents have bid and raised clubs, the double is not for penalties. It simply shows a hand with extra values, asking partner to raise spades, bid a five-card suit, or defend if appropriate.


South Holds:

A K 6 2
J 6 3
10 9 6
J 10 7


South West North East
  1 Dbl. 1
1 Pass Pass 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