Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: All


A Q 10 8 4

Q 8 7 6


A K 10




8 3 2


J 9 7 3 2

9 5 4 2


Q J 9


K 6

A K J 10 3

J 3

7 6 5 4


South West North East
    1 Pass
2 5 6 All Pass

Opening Lead: A

“Example is always more efficacious than precept.”

— Samuel Johnson

In today’s six-heart deal West, who judged well not to save in seven diamonds, had no good reason to lead anything but his diamond ace. He gave much thought to continuing with a second diamond, but was afraid of conceding a critical ruff and sluff.

Eventually West shifted to a club. Declarer won this in dummy, crossed to hand with a top heart, and ruffed the losing diamond for himself with the trump queen. East decided that his best chance to defeat the hand was to find West with the spade king, so he pitched one of his small spades on this trick. Now declarer drew trumps and established a long spade to set up a discard for his club loser.

A club discard by East at trick four would have worked no better. After drawing trumps and cashing two top spades to find the bad news, South would have known West had started with one spade, nine diamonds and no hearts, and thus had two clubs left. His only chance to make the hand would have been to drop the missing club honor.

However, the winning defense is not hard to spot when you think about it. East must underruff dummy at trick four! Now East gets to discard after dummy on the run of the trumps, and simply keeps equal length with North in the black suits. So long as West holds on to his precious guard in clubs, his eight will score the setting trick.


South Holds:

K 6
A K J 10 3
J 3
7 6 5 4


South West North East
1 2 Dbl. Pass
ANSWER: Your partner has made a takeout double, and although it is tempting to repeat the hearts, I would bid my clubs now, planning to reintroduce my hearts if the opponents compete to three diamonds. This way, you get both of your suits in at a sensible level. Your partner either has clubs or has at least tolerance for hearts.


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