Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: All


7 6

J 9 3

Q J 4

J 9 8 7 4


J 4

A Q 8 6 2

K 6 5

5 3 2


K 10 9 2

5 4

10 9 7 3 2

10 6


A Q 8 5 3

K 10 7

A 8



South West North East
1* 1 Dbl. Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
3 NT All Pass    
*16 or more, any hand

Opening Lead: 6

“Do not do unto others as you would they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.”

— George Bernard Shaw

When there is a blockage that prevents access to winning tricks, declarer will sometimes have to turn to the defenders for help.

In three no-trump West had a straightforward lead of his fourth-best heart, and dummy’s nine held the trick. It seemed that declarer was in dummy for the last time. Even without the club blockage, South seemed to be a trick short. Either a successful diamond or spade finesse would supply one extra trick; but that would not be enough, given declarer’s inability to cash five club tricks.

South saw one glimmer of light. If West held five hearts (likely on the lead), but no more than two spades, he could be endplayed into opening up the diamonds, which would at the same time allow access to dummy.

Therefore, at trick two, declarer finessed the spade queen. Then came the three top clubs and the spade ace, the jack dropping from West and providing a hopeful sign that all was going to plan. South now got off play with the heart king and was relieved to find East following suit. After cashing four heart tricks (declarer ditching the club four and the diamond four from dummy, and two low spades from hand), West had no option but to open up the diamonds. Dummy’s Q-J of diamonds now provided a sure entry, and the fifth club was the game-going trick. Contract made — declarer finishing up with one heart, four clubs, and two tricks in each of the other suits.


South Holds:

7 6
J 9 3
Q J 4
J 9 8 7 4


South West North East
  1 1 Dbl.
Pass 1 Dbl. Pass
ANSWER: Your partner’s double, facing a hand that has not acted, is simply for takeout. His likely hand-pattern is four spades and five or six diamonds, with extra values. You do not yet need to bid more than two diamonds, but should plan to compete to three diamonds if necessary.


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