Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: E/W

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


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

Opening Lead: 10

“The trapper shall be trapped — the biter shall be bit,

Unravelled is the web that he, poor fool, hath knit!”

— Pierre Corneille

At the Dyspeptics Club three of the four players will confirm that West is the weakest, South the luckiest cardholder, and North the possessor of the most acerbic tongue. But, although none of the others would admit it, East is the best card-player. In today’s deal South was caught by his deceptive defense.


Declaring three no-trump, South covered the opening lead of the spade 10 in dummy and ducked East’s king. Back came a spade, West pitching a heart and declarer winning in dummy to take a diamond finesse. Because of the shortages of dummy entries, South briefly considered leading a heart to dummy’s 10, but eventually crossed to the heart ace to repeat the diamond finesse, then cashed the two remaining heart winners. On the second of these, East discarded the club queen.


Unsure whether East had one diamond and two clubs left, or two diamonds and one club, South cashed the diamond ace next. When East followed with the king, declarer decided that East had the club A-J left. So South exited from hand with ace and a second spade, hoping to score his club king at the end, but East claimed the rest for down one.


As North pointed out, South could have made his life a lot easier by ducking the spade 10. Now, whether West leads a heart, diamond or club, South gains an extra entry to dummy for another finesse and takes two spades, three diamonds, three hearts and a club.

ANSWER: Experts do not agree whether this sequence shows a very strong balanced hand or a long suit with guards outside, prepared to play three no-trump facing not very much. The simplest way to advance here is to bid four no-trump, hoping partner will clarify his hand-type if he has extras.


South Holds:

Q J 4
A 10 9
10 9 4
9 7 3 2


South West North East
    2 Pass
2 Pass 3 NT 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