Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 4, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: None


K J 5 4


9 8 2

J 8 3



J 10 6 4 3

Q J 7 6

K 10 4


10 6

9 5 2

A 5 3

A Q 7 6 5


A 9 8 7 3 2

8 7

K 10 4

9 2


South West North East
2* Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 4 All Pass
*Weak two in either major, or 22-23 HCP

Opening Lead: 3

“This life’s five windows of the soul

Distorts the Heavens from pole to pole,

And leads you to believe a lie.”

— William Blake

To mark this year’s world championships, being held in Philadelphia, all this week’s deals come from the last world championships, held in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Lynn Deas and Beth Palmer defended expertly on this deal from their round-robin match against Jordan. In the other room Kerri Sanborn had made 10 tricks in two spades, collecting six spades, three hearts and one diamond. But there was more at stake in the closed room, where the Jordanians had reached game.

Deas (West) led the heart three. The Jordanian declarer, Randa Saket, won, drew trumps, and cashed the other two hearts, discarding a club from her hand. Then she called for a club, Palmer as East rising with her ace and shifting to a low diamond, which was ducked to West’s jack. Now Deas set out to help declarer misplace the diamond honors. Instead of leading the club king, she played a low club to the jack and queen, ruffed by South.

Declarer, thinking that East had false-carded on the first round of clubs from the ace-king-queen, now knew that East was unlikely also to have the diamond ace and to have stayed silent at her first turn. She crossed to dummy with a trump and played a diamond to her 10. Deas produced the queen and returned a diamond for down one and six IMPs to USA-1, instead of a loss of the same number.


South Holds:

Q 10 4 3
10 6 2
A 3
J 8 4 2


South West North East
    Pass 1
Pass 4 All Pass  
ANSWER: While a diamond lead can offer instant gratification if successful, the more mundane fourth highest in a black suit is more likely to succeed. The spade lead is preferable since any honor in partner’s hand will minimize the chance of that lead costing a trick. A club lead, however, might be expensive even when you find the queen or jack opposite.


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


toldoOctober 18th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

It is (almost) guaranteed that I will not find jack of clubs in opposite hand…

Bobby WolffOctober 18th, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Hi Toldo,

Good imaginative overall defense by Palmer-Deas.

Sometimes, in order to mislead a shrewd declarer, some chances need to be taken, and although they, in real life, don’t always work, for bridge column purposes they will, otherwise there wouldn’t be much purpose for the column.

You must guard against losing perspective. Being optimistic will work at bridge much more often than it doesn’t.

Thanks for writing.