Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: All

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


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

Opening Lead: 9

“Thus the best human intelligence is still decidedly barbarous; it fights in heavy armour and keeps a fool at court.”

— George Santayana

To celebrate the Summer Nationals currently taking place in New Orleans, all this week’s deals come from last year’s event.


Both tables did the right thing in the auction on this deal from the Senior Swiss. However, a slight difference in declarer’s tactics at trick two earned the John Swanson team a game swing.


The North-South pairs at each table did well to land in three no-trump after North had opened one spade and East overcalled two clubs. At least that game had chances!


When Rich Oshlag was East, his wife, Mary, led the club nine. Declarer won dummy’s club ace and advanced the heart queen. Rich ducked, won the next heart, and cashed the diamond ace and club king. He then led his other diamond, perhaps more in hope than expectation. But his hopes were answered, and when West produced the K-Q of diamonds, that was a swift down one.


At the other table, declarer Sid Brownstein won the club ace and could see that if he developed his game-going tricks in hearts, he would force the defenders to go after diamonds, making it almost impossible to prevent the defenders from taking five tricks.


So Brownstein, deciding to throw up a smokescreen, played a low diamond from dummy at once. Can you blame East for ducking? I can’t, and now the diamond blockage meant the defenders could cash only four of their five tricks.

ANSWER: The simplest way to get your values across is to bid one no-trump. Although you might contemplate raising diamonds, your stoppers in the black suits and your decent high-card values argue for trying for no-trump. Your partner might expect more offense and less defense if you raise diamonds directly.


South Holds:

A 7 5
K J 8
9 8 6
Q J 7 2


South West North East
  1 1 1


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