Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: N/S


K 9 7

10 7 6 4 3

10 9 8 4 3


Q 5

A 9 5 2


K 10 7 6 4 2


10 6

Q J 8

A K J 7 6

J 8 3


A J 8 4 3 2


Q 5

A Q 9 5


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

Opening Lead: 2

“We meant full well and we tried full hard,

And our failures were manifold.”

— Richard Burton

The best-played hand of the 2009 Lederer was also a candidate for the best-defended hands at some tables, and a missed opportunity at another.

In our featured auction, Cameron Small, for the TGR Super League winners, contented himself with a game-try on the South cards, which his partner was quick to decline. Against three spades, West led a diamond, and East won and switched to the spade 10 to the jack, queen and king. A heart to the jack and ace saw West play a second trump, which was won in dummy with the nine.

Now Small ruffed a heart and exited with the diamond queen to the king. East was endplayed — a heart or diamond is clearly fatal — so he exited with a club. Small covered with the nine and pitched a diamond from dummy to endplay West for nine tricks.

At another table, when David Bakhshi was South, he simply bid game at his second turn when his partner Zia raised, and West, Andrew McIntosh, for the Gold Cup team, raised the stakes by doubling. Again West led his singleton diamond, and East, Nick Sandqvist, won and continued with the diamond king and jack, theoretically a fatal error. Now South misguessed when he ruffed with the trump jack and went down.

The winning line was to ruff with the ace, cross to dummy with the king of trumps, and discard the heart king on a diamond. This line succeeds if the opposing trumps are 2-2, or if West has queen-third of spades.


South Holds:

10 6
Q J 8
A K J 7 6
J 8 3


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Dbl. Rdbl. 2
ANSWER: Your partner’s redouble shows a good hand, so you have enough to drive to game. The simplest way to find out about your partner’s hand and set up a game-forcing auction is to cue-bid three spades. Your plan would be to pass three no-trump if your partner bids it.


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


Steven BloomOctober 4th, 2010 at 11:58 am

In three spade, why not simply play a diamond at trick three, and use North’s two entries to set up a diamond winner? That yields nine tricks trivially whenever trumps split, with excellent chances when West had Qxx in trumps.

Bobby WolffOctober 4th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Hi Steven,

Or when, after East plays low, as he no doubt would, and West trumps, West as you suggest, either has a third trump or instead West leads a heart to East’s hypothetical ace and East then leads his 2nd trump.

As usual the web gets tangled in trying to figure out the most likely distribution (my vote would be for West to have 3 spades, especially since East led the 10 when many would have led a small one). However, if West did double the final contract, he certainly is more likely to hold the Ace of hearts.

Thanks for writing, without which these hands would never be properly analyzed leaving some of the most wonderful aspects forever buried.