Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: All


Q 10

K 5 4 3

J 7

9 7 6 4 2


8 6 4

10 9

A Q 9 4

A Q 10 3


J 9 7 5 3 2


10 6 3 2

J 5



A Q J 7 6 2

K 8 5

K 8


South West North East
  1 NT* Pass 2
Dbl. 2 Pass 3
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: 10

“When they are there, I neglect God and his angels for the noise of a fly, for the rattling of a coach, for the whining of a door.”

— John Donne

In today’s four-heart contract from Julian Pottage’s “Win the Big Match” (available from, you know West holds both minor-suit aces, so there is little point in leading a club up to the king. Can you instead organize a throw-in on West?

It looks natural to win the heart in hand, cash the spades, then lead the heart six to dummy’s king. Now you may put West on play by running the diamond jack — but what good does that do? West wins with the diamond queen, cashes the ace, and exits with a third round, leaving you with two club losers. Instead, your exit has to take place in clubs.

Strip off the spades and trumps as before, but then lead a low club from dummy. If East plays low on the trick, you must restrain yourself from rising with the king — West might win with the ace and get off play with a low club to East. Instead, insert the club eight. If the cards lie as you hope, West can win the club cheaply, but now what? A diamond or spade lead will eliminate a diamond loser. Cashing the club ace provides a temporary escape, but with the club jack falling from East, West is then really stuck. Whether he leads a low or high club, one ruff sets up the suit, giving you two diamond discards on the clubs since you can lead your heart two to dummy’s three.


South Holds:

Q 10
K 5 4 3
J 7
9 7 6 4 2


South West North East
    1 2
Pass Pass Dbl. Pass
ANSWER: Partner is likely to have extra shape, additional high cards or both, for his takeout double. You have a decent holding for a passed hand, but not really enough to invite to game with a call of three hearts. Since your most likely game is in hearts, not clubs, try to bid two hearts without giving away that you have a problem, and hope that partner can act again.


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