Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, September 10, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: N/S


6 3

A Q 4

A K 5

A 10 8 7 3


10 7 2

J 10 9 7

8 6 2

9 6 2


K Q J 8 5

K 5

J 10 9 4

Q 5


A 9 4

8 6 3 2

Q 7 3

K J 4

South West North East
Pass Pass Dbl. Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
3 NT All Pass

Opening Lead: 2

“Our little systems have their day;

They have their day and cease to be…”

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson

When you are playing a vulnerable game at teams, safety plays become highly important. You should be prepared to give up on overtricks to make sure you bring home your games, and equally to insure the defeat of a game or slam without worrying about undoubled undertricks.

That said, can you see which unlikely card in the defenders’ hands might be the key to a safety play in three no-trump?

West obediently led a spade in response to his partner’s opening bid overcall.Declarer ducked his ace until the third round and pitched a heart from dummy. Then he crossed to the diamond ace and advanced the club 10, planning to run that card to keep East off lead if he had the guarded club jack. East covered the club 10, and declarer crossed back to dummy with a second diamond and led the club seven, letting it ride to West’s nine. Surprised, West won a cheap trick and exited with a heart, but declarer wrapped up his four club tricks, three diamonds, and two aces.

It may seem that all declarer had done was to surrender an overtrick, but in the other room West tried the effect of raising one spade to two. (Children, don’t try this at home.) When North doubled and South bid three hearts, it was almost impossible to reach three no-trump now. In fact North did quite well to pass and let South find his way home for nine tricks, but still, a game-swing away.


South Holds:

A 9 4
8 6 3 2
Q 7 3
K J 4
South West North East
1 Pass
1 2 2 Pass
2 NT 3 Pass Pass
ANSWER: You may think you can defeat the contract because your side clearly has the balance of high cards, but consider that West knows that and obviously has a great deal of shape. Your partner did not wish to compete any further, but your diamond length argues for competing to three diamonds — though it is a close call.

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