Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: All


K 8 6

A Q 6

A J 7 5 3

K 8


Q J 9 5 4

5 3

K Q 10 9 4



10 7 3 2

9 7 4


Q J 10 5 4



K J 10 8 2

8 2

A 9 7 3 2

South West North East
1 2 Dbl. 3
4 Pass 4 NT Pass
5 Pass 6 All Pass

Opening Lead: K

“Stake your counter as boldly every whit,

Venture as warily, use the same skill,

Do your best, whether winning or losing it,

If you choose to play!”

— Robert Browning

In today’s deal South decided to overbid slightly to get his two-suiter in at a convenient level, and North took him seriously, driving to what turned out to be an excellent slam, even with the clear warnings of possible bad splits.

How would you play the slam, knowing that West has at least 10 cards in his two suits, which you assume to be spades and diamonds?

At the table South made no mistake on a top diamond lead. It would have been very easy to pitch the diamond loser on the spades and rely on the clubs breaking. South did far better. He took the diamond lead on the board, drew two rounds of trumps with the ace and jack, cashed the spade ace, then played the club king and club ace and ruffed a club in dummy. Now came a spade ruff to hand, and South drew the last trump. At this point South led a diamond toward dummy’s jack. West won the trick and had to return either a spade or diamond. Whichever he played, South would win in dummy and discard his two losing clubs — contract made.

Had hearts been 4-1 and clubs 4-2, declarer would have drawn two rounds of trumps and ruffed a club in dummy. Then he would have crossed to his spade ace and drawn trumps. Now he could either set up a diamond trick, or play a fourth club to East. Because that player has only spades left, he must lead one round to dummy to let declarer pitch his diamond.


South Holds:

K J 10 8 2
8 2
A 9 7 3 2
South West North East
ANSWER: A jump overcall of two no-trump shows the two lowest unbid suits, and although South has slightly better defense than partner might expect, it is still the sensible way to describe this hand at one go. If you bid hearts now, you may never get your clubs in at a convenient level. Vulnerable, there is a case for the simple overcall, given your rather feeble club spots.

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