Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: E/W


Q J 10 2

10 6 4

J 5 4

K 7 4


K 6 5

Q 8

7 6 3

Q 10 5 3 2


9 8 7

A 5 2

K 9 8 2

J 9 8


A 4 3

K J 9 7 3

A Q 10

A 6


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: 3

“Both look up to me alone

For learning and defence

As I look up to Providence.”

— W.B. Yeats

This week’s deals all come from the 2009 Lederer Invitational teams tournament. Yesterday’s winner of the award for the best-bid hand was the victim (as declarer) of the deal that won the prize for best defense.

In the last match of the event, a simple auction brought Bennett and Rosen, who were in contention for second place, to the normal game. John Matheson avoided giving the 10th trick immediately by not leading a spade or a diamond. (Even Zia’s unlikely choice of the heart eight might have worked well enough here.) Instead, Matheson led a small club.

Bennett won the trick and advanced the heart king, as only a singleton queen was going to be of any use to him. Both opponents ducked, the second essential play to prevent declarer from getting to dummy for the finesses he needed, and West won the next trump to play a second club. Declarer took this in dummy with the king and ran the spade queen. Again, both opponents ducked smoothly.

It is far from clear what to do next. Maybe the defenders ducked because the king was onside — it does happen! Whether there is a case for switching to diamonds by leading the jack, you can certainly sympathize with declarer when he repeated the spade finesse. West now won and exited in spades. There was no further entry to dummy, and declarer had to go one down.


South Holds:

Q J 10 2
10 6 4
J 5 4
K 7 4


South West North East
    2 Pass
2 Dbl. 2 4
ANSWER: Even the most experienced partnerships will not have a detailed agreement about what to do here, but a simple bid of four spades is not enough. One would make the same call without the minor-suit honors, maybe with just three trumps. Jump to five spades, intending it to show a hand too good for four spades and with no diamond control.


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