Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 11, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W


A J 6 4

A 9 7

J 9 5

6 5 2


Q 10 9

J 5 2

K Q 7

J 9 7 3


K 8 3 2

10 4

A 6 4 3 2

10 8


7 5

K Q 8 6 3

10 8

A K Q 4


South West North East
1 Pass 1 NT Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: 10

“To do two things at once is to do neither.”

— Publilius Syrus

It may sound trite, but when you have two chances for a contract and can take them both in proper order, this is generally a better approach than putting all your eggs in one basket. Today’s deal gives you just that opportunity.

The point of the play in four hearts is that declarer has three quick losers and has to negotiate a possible problem in clubs. Declarer must not pin his entire hope on a 3-3 split in clubs, since he can make provision against a 4-2 split as well. The defenders lead the spade 10, which South allows to hold the trick. After he wins the spade continuation, what next?

After taking the heart king and ace (in that order, so he can survive a 4-1 trump break with West having the bare jack or 10), he must lead the three top clubs, while leaving one trump outstanding. If the clubs split 3-3, he can take out the last trump and cash the fourth club. If the club split is 4-2 and the third round is ruffed, dummy will have a trump to ruff out the fourth. The defenders have four tricks, but nothing will have been lost in this case, since the contract would have gone down one whatever South did.

However, if the clubs split 4-2 and the defender who is long in clubs also has the last trump, the contract can be made by ruffing out the fourth club before pulling the last trump.


South Holds:

J 9 5 2
Q 3
8 4 3
Q 4 3 2


South West North East
Pass 1 Pass 2
Pass 2 Pass 2 NT
Pass 3 NT All Pass  
ANSWER: East rates to have nine cards in hearts and clubs, and is also likely to have a singleton spade, or a small doubleton, with a diamond guard. Since your partner did not double two diamonds, he does not rate to have a stack there, so I would settle for leading up to declarer’s shortage with the spade two.


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

1 Comment

NickMay 21st, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Hi Bobby,

I heard that this wasn’t the deal for this day. East had Spades: Q J, Hearts: K 5 3, Diamonds: A J 10 9 8 2, Clubs: Q J. This deal appeared in the newspaper, but did you make a misdeal for this day?

This deal said East held Spades: K 8 3 2, Hearts: 10 4, Diamonds: A 6 4 3 2, Clubs: 10 8. When you made this deal error, please change all the cards and change the deal having East hold Spades: Q J, Hearts: K 5 3, Diamonds, A J 10 9 8 2, Clubs: Q J.