Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: N/S


J 9

A J 8 3


Q 9 8 6 3 2


Q 8 7 3 2

9 6 4 2


7 5



K Q 7 5

J 8 6 4 2

K 10 4


A K 10 5 4


K 10 7 5 3



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

Opening Lead: 9

“In the vaunted works of Art

The master-stroke is Nature’s part.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

In today’s deal from the Transnational event at last year’s World Championships in Sao Paulo, the hero was Peter Boyd of USA-1.

After the heart lead, declarer could have succeeded in three spades simply by taking the club finesse, cashing the club ace, and exiting with a low diamond. It’s not as easy when you cannot see all the cards, however, so declarer played on diamonds at trick two, leading the nine to his king and Boyd’s ace.

At this point, only one card in Boyd’s hand would defeat three spades, and he found it: the spade queen!

Say Boyd had exited with a heart. Declarer ruffs, ruffs a diamond, ruffs a heart, and ruffs another diamond, noting Boyd’s discard. If Boyd discards a club, declarer ruffs a heart, plays the club ace, and exits with a club or a diamond. Boyd, down to all trumps, would be forced to ruff, then lead into declarer’s trump tenace.

Equally, a low-spade switch from Boyd does not do the job, because declarer can win the trick in dummy, take the club finesse, cash the club ace, ruff a diamond, and eventually force West to ruff one of his partner’s winners and lead into the spade tenace.

After the play of the spade queen, declarer won in hand, ruffed a diamond, took the club finesse, cashed the club ace, and exited with a diamond. However, East won, cashed another diamond, and gave West a ruff. Boyd still had a sure trump trick to come, for down one.


South Holds:

J 9
A J 8 3
Q 9 8 6 3 2


South West North East
  1 1 Pass
Pass 1 Dbl. Pass
ANSWER: Your partner’s double is for takeout, suggesting five diamonds and four spades. Since declarer is marked with long clubs, (or he would have balanced with a double), your choice is to defend, which seems a little adventurous, or else bid a quiet one no-trump, which would be my choice.


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