Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 19, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


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

Opening Lead: 4

“War has been, and still is, the school of collectivism, the warrant of tyranny.”

— Charles William Eliot

One aspect of good declarer play is to make life as difficult as possible for the defenders. And one way to do this is to try to put the defenders on the spot before you have revealed too much about your hand.


Against today’s three no-trump, West led the club four to East’s eight and declarer’s jack, leaving the position in that suit unclear to both defenders. Declarer then cashed four rounds of diamonds, followed by three rounds of hearts. When that suit did not break, he led a spade from the table. It was not difficult for East to realize that if he ducked this, that would be declarer’s ninth trick, so East won the spade ace, cashed the heart jack, and returned a club, allowing West to take his club tricks and defeat the hand.


Declarer in the other room made it more difficult by leaving diamonds alone. Of course, he did not want to go down when the contract was laydown, so he started by playing three rounds of hearts, but when they did not break, he led a spade immediately. It was now more difficult for East to rise with his ace since he did not know where declarer’s tricks were coming from. Whether he should have got it right or not, the fact remains that he played low on the spade, and declarer took the trick and ran for home with nine winners.

ANSWER: In this auction, partner has not promised club length, so a club lead is no safer or more dangerous than any other suit. When, as here, you have a sequence, my first thought would be to lead it. Accordingly, I would try the spade queen at trick one.


South Holds:

Q J 4
A 10 9
10 8 4 2
9 7 3


South West North East
    1 1
1 NT 2 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