Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W


A 10 9 6

A 9

A Q J 9 7 3



J 4

Q 10 3 2

4 2

A 10 6 5 2


Q 8 5 3

J 7 6

K 6 5

K 8 4


K 7 2

K 8 5 4

10 8

Q 9 7 3


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

Opening Lead: 5

“Sometimes these cogitations still amaze

The troubled midnight and the noon’s repose.”

— T.S. Eliot

Most people’s general strategy for winning and ducking tricks could be summarized as “Win the trick first and think about it later.” This approach is not always optimal, as today’s deal demonstrates.

The auction was informative from West’s perspective. At his third turn, North sensibly jumped to three diamonds to invite game, suggesting a 6-4 pattern and a king more than a minimum. South now reassessed his scattered values and decided he had enough to bid the no-trump game.

West led a low club to his partner’s king and, on the return of the club eight, captured declarer’s nine with his 10 and cashed the ace. Now West realized that he needed to shift to a major, but today was not his lucky day. Declarer had both kings, and neither a heart nor a spade shift would work.

However, when East won the first trick with the king and returned the club eight, it should have marked him with a remaining doubleton or singleton. (With three left, East would have played back a low one.) Whether declarer played the club nine or a highly deceptive queen, West should have worked out to duck, since South was marked with at least an original four-card club suit.

Looking at the dummy, West should reason that the hand cannot be defeated unless East has a fast entry and a third club to lead. It will be easy for East to play another club when on lead with his diamond king, thus defeating the contract.


South Holds:

K 7 2
K 8 5 4
10 8
Q 9 7 3


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 4 Pass
ANSWER: This unusual auction suggests your partner has a very strong three-suiter with four-card heart support. You have three working cards, more than enough to go to slam. That being said, my best guess would be to bid six clubs rather than six hearts. It is conceivable that if hearts do not break, partner can discard a fourth-round heart loser on one of your spades.


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