Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: All

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


South West North East
  Pass Pass Pass
1 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening Lead: 10

“You will, therefore, permit me to concede your entire argument, and yet contrive means to escape your dilemma.”

— Johann Goethe

The cunning declarer can sometimes get away with murder if he manages to conceal his high-card strength. Today’s deal provides an example, where North-South had bid very aggressively to a delicate game at both tables of a team game. Cover up the East-West cards and make your plan in four spades on a trump lead.


In one room West led a diamond and declarer was soon down two tricks when he misguessed the diamond suit at trick one.


At the other table Israel’s Ilan Herbst received a trump lead. He won in hand and found the inspired shot of leading the heart queen from hand, inferring from the passive lead that West had awkward holdings in the other suits. While it may look like an extreme position to give up on a legitimate play in exchange for a swindle, good players should have the courage of their convictions.


West won the trick and, with no real clue, chose to return a heart. Declarer won his ace, crossed to dummy with a trump, and discarded a club on the heart jack. He now played a club, which was won by West. When West continued with a second club, declarer ruffed, crossed to dummy with a trump, ruffed the last club, then played ace and another diamond. The king was offside, but because East had only a doubleton, his only choice was to win and give declarer a ruff and discard for his contract.

ANSWER: The range for your two-diamond call was quite wide — you might easily have had a 10-count. Your partner must have extra shape if not high cards and be trying for game. Since you have no interest beyond partscore, you should sign off in three diamonds.


South Holds:

K Q 6 3
J 8 7
Q 6 4
5 4 3


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 2 Pass Pass
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