Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: None

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


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

Opening Lead: 2

“Her reasoning is full of tricks

And butterfly suggestions.

I know no point to which she sticks;

She begs the simplest questions.”

— Alfred Cochrane

In the San Remo European Open Teams, Romania’s Veronel Lungu (West) and Viorel Micescu (East) produced a stunning defense against what appeared to be an unbeatable contract.


West led the spade two against three no-trump, and declarer played low from dummy, taking East’s jack with the queen. When he played a diamond to the king, East won with the ace and played another spade, which declarer ducked to West’s king.


Now West made the farsighted play of switching to a club — he could see that the spade suit by itself did not offer enough prospects for the defense. When declarer played low from dummy, East put in the queen, and when that held, he switched back to spades.


The defenders were now assured of four tricks, but it also it appeared that declarer was fated to make his contract, thanks to the fall of the heart jack. However, when declarer, having taken the spade ace, crossed to dummy with the heart ace, the heart jack made an unexpected appearance.


Convinced by East’s falsecard that he could no longer hope for five heart tricks, declarer decided that he needed to establish the ninth trick in clubs. As West had failed to clear the spade suit, it seemed logical to place the ace with East, so declarer played the club king. However, it was West who took the trick, and his last spade defeated the unbeatable game.

ANSWER: Your partner’s double shows cards; it is not for penalties. You have a choice of ways forward, given that you must not pass with only three trumps. You can rebid your chunky diamonds or support hearts, the former looking preferable. Even if you had denied three hearts, those diamonds look as if they are supposed to be trumps.


South Holds:

10 8 3
A 4
K Q J 7 2
K J 6


South West North East
1 Dbl. 1 2
Pass Pass Dbl. 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