Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: N/S


Q 4 2

8 3

A 9 7 6 5 3 2



K 9

A Q J 9 7 5

Q J 4

7 5


10 8

10 6 4 2

10 8

K Q 8 6 3


A J 7 6 5 3



J 10 9 4 2


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

Opening Lead: 7

“To fall into a habit is to begin to cease to be.”

— Miguel de Unamuno

Poland and Sweden have in the past adopted an unusual approach to selecting their national teams: Ten prequalified pairs from each country played the second stage of their respective trials against each other. Today’s deal from those trials is a rarity because after West failed to find the killing lead against six spades, the only way for him to defeat the spade slam would be to sacrifice his trump trick.

North-South found their way to a highly ambitious slam, one apparently doomed on West’s natural lead of the heart ace. However Zdzislaw Laszczak, having put far too much faith in his opponents’ bidding, elected to lead a club.

Declarer, Marten Gustafsson, won, played a diamond to his king, ruffed a club in dummy, then cashed the diamond ace to discard his losing heart. A diamond ruff in hand now set up the suit.

Despite this great start, declarer still needed trumps to be 2-2, with West holding the spade king and no more clubs, or he could force the dummy. Accordingly, Gustafsson led a low spade from hand toward dummy’s queen. If West takes the king and returns a heart, declarer ruffs in hand and plays a spade to the queen. Dummy is now high.

Laszczak, despite being disconcerted by the knowledge that cashing the heart ace would have defeated the contract out of hand, was still focused enough to resist the automatic play. Instead, he played low on declarer’s trump lead. Although dummy’s queen won, the diamond suit was now dead, and the contract had to fail.


South Holds:

Q 4 2
8 3
A 9 7 6 5 3 2


South West North East
    1 2
2 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 3 Pass
ANSWER: If your partner was weak with both majors, he would surely have passed three diamonds (or have bid spades earlier). I’d take this call as a game-try for diamonds, with spade values. Your extra diamond length should be enough for game, but just in case, stop off in four hearts along the way. The earlier bidding has made it clear that you can’t hold more than a doubleton heart.


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