Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 13, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: E/W


K J 2

9 3

A 10 8 7

A 6 4 2


10 7

K Q 10 8 6 4

Q 9 6

J 9


9 8 6 5 3


J 5

K Q 10 8 7


A Q 4

A J 7 2

K 4 3 2

5 3


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

Opening Lead: K

“Live as long as you please, you will strike nothing off the time you will have to spend dead.”

— Michel de Montaigne

All instruction books on card play are unanimous on the importance of thinking before you play to trick one, particularly from dummy. Would you have gotten today’s hand right? Look at just the North-South hands while forming your plan.

Against your no-trump game, West leads the heart king. If you duck, as you should, West will switch to the spade 10. Suppose you win and play three rounds of diamonds. West wins the third round and presses on with a second spade. You win in dummy and duck a club. East takes this and plays a third spade. You win this, take the club ace, cash your good diamond, and lead dummy’s heart nine, ducking it to West. He will be endplayed, forced to lead into your heart tenace to give you nine tricks. Nicely played! Well, not so nicely, because West meanly allows your heart nine to hold the trick. This is your eighth trick only, and all dummy has left are clubs, so East must make the last two tricks.

Technically, you could have avoided this by ducking a club before playing on diamonds — but why would you do that? No, the simplest thing of all would have been to unblock dummy’s heart nine at trick one under the king. After all, when you think about it, it is a card that is not likely to be useful to you. Now, in the ending, when you lead a heart to West, he can no longer duck the trick and is endplayed.


South Holds:

K J 2
9 3
A 10 8 7
A 6 4 2


South West North East
  2 Dbl. Pass
ANSWER: Facing a takeout double of a weak-two bid, you have the values for game, but no reason to assume that your hand is overburdened for defense against diamonds. Passing might work out, but the middle-of-the-road action is just to bid three no-trump.


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