Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 23, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: All

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


South West North East
    2 Pass
2* Pass 2 NT Pass
3 Pass 3 Pass
3 NT Pass 4 All Pass
*0-3 points

Opening Lead: Jack

“A wise player ought to accept his throws and score them, not bewail his luck.”

— Sophocles

In today’s deal the methods played by North-South accidentally nullified the effect of the transfer system they were playing over two no-trump. Because South was marked with at least a five-card heart suit and probably a lack of entry cards, it was clear for North to convert back to four hearts rather than passing three no-trump, and indeed the suit game looked comfortable enough.


However, the defenders were on the ball, and the combination of an accurate defense and the bad trump break was enough to doom the contract.


After winning the diamond king, East knew that the contract could not be set unless West had the spade ace, and the auction had marked West with that card. If South had two spades, the contract could be set no matter which spade East led. But if South had only one spade, East saw that he had to lead the spade king first and then continue leading spades.


South had to trump the second spade, and was down to four hearts. When East won the heart ace, he could lead a third spade and force South to ruff again, setting up his long trump for the setting trick.


Note that if East’s first lead is a low spade, dummy’s queen and jack of spades are equal against East’s king. South will get to ruff away East’s honor. He cannot be forced to ruff a second time, and so can draw trumps with impunity.

ANSWER: For the time being you have no problem; your partner has shown a good hand with long clubs and four hearts. You can give preference to three clubs and leave it up to your partner whether he wants to bid on. Do not bid no-trump — you have no idea where your tricks will come from, despite your diamond guard.


South Holds:

A 10 8 3 2
J 10 7 3
8 6 5


South West North East
    1 1
1 2 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

1 Comment

Ron IngramAugust 20th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

In one of your recent newspaper columns, you showed a bidding sequence in which one partner asked the other about side-suit queens. I’m unable to find that column. Where in your archive can I find that column ?