Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: All


J 9 4 3

A 9 6 2

K 8

9 4 3


K 6 5

Q J 10

A 6 4

K 10 6 2



7 5 3

Q J 9 7 5 3 2

J 7


A Q 10 7 2

K 8 4


A Q 8 5


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 4 Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: Q

“Behold now this vast city (London); a city of refuge, the mansion-house of liberty, encompassed and surrounded with His protection.”

— John Milton

How would you tackle today’s deal from a duplicate at London’s Young Chelsea Bridge Club? You are in four spades on the lead of the heart queen. North had a maximum for his initial raise, so he bid four hearts over South’s game-try of three hearts, a more accurate help-suit try than three clubs, since possessing the club king is not that important here. South naturally corrected to four spades.

The key to this deal (and so many others) is to combine all your chances. The urgent need is to dispose of your third-round heart loser if possible. So win the heart king and play a diamond. West rises with the ace and plays another heart, which you win with the ace as East follows. The play in hearts suggests the suit is 3-3 (East would probably have echoed with a doubleton), so cash the diamond king pitching a heart, ruff a heart with the spade 10, and now play the spade ace and another spade. West does best to win and exit with his last spade, but you win in dummy, cash the long heart while discarding a club, and lead a club to your eight. This endplays West, who must either give you a ruff and discard or lead a club into your tenace.

Even if East were able to win the spade king and switch to a club, when you play the eight, it would endplay West.


South Holds:

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


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 4 Pass
ANSWER: You may well ask what four diamonds shows. The answer is a good raise to four hearts with four trumps and a very good six-card diamond suit. With your two working cards, you are fractionally too good to bid only four hearts. A call of five hearts suggests a slam-try with no control in the black suits. Let partner bid on if he can control those suits.


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