Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: None


K 9 8 5

8 5 3

A Q 10 4

Q 6


4 2

K J 10 7 4 2

K 6 5

K 7


A 10 3

Q 9 6

J 9 8 7 3

9 8


Q J 7 6



A J 10 5 4 3 2


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

Opening Lead: J

“Those who’ll play with cats must expect to be scratched.”

— Miguel de Cervantes

When the Junior European Championships took place last summer in Romania, there was a week-long tournament for schools players. Today’s deal is my favorite from that event.

Joris Van Lankveld was defending four spades against the Norwegians. A heart was led to the bare ace, and declarer played the spade queen to East’s ace. The defense forced declarer with a second heart. Declarer, risking everything on a successful club finesse, drew trumps (West throwing a heart) and ran the club queen. Van Lankveld bravely let this hold. When the next club finesse lost to West, declarer’s club suit became wastepaper. West now played winning hearts until the dummy ruffed in. Declarer could do no better than exit with the diamond queen. West won, cashed his last heart, and led a diamond to East’s jack.

This was three down for 150 to the Netherlands. On scoring up, South proudly read out plus 150. “Push” was the reply. Somewhat disappointed, Van Lankveld asked, “So they held up the club king as well?” “No. We were in six spades,” came the answer.

Maybe a better line in four spades would have been to draw a second round of trumps ending in dummy and take a club finesse, planning to repeat it if necessary. West can win the second and lead a heart, but declarer simply discards a club from hand and has the rest. He can ruff the next heart in dummy and cross to hand with the spade jack to run the clubs.


South Holds:

K 9 8 5
8 5 3
A Q 10 4
Q 6


South West North East
  Pass 1 Pass
1 Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: Since three no-trump is certainly your side’s most likely game, you should advance with a forcing call of two diamonds, hoping your partner can bid two no-trump and you can raise to game. If your partner bids three clubs, you should pass. If he bids two spades, you can correct to three clubs.


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