Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: All


J 10

K Q 6 5 4 3

A 9 2

J 5


K 9 2

10 7

J 8 5

Q 9 8 6 2


A 8 7

A J 9

10 7 6 4

10 7 3


Q 6 5 4 3

8 2

K Q 3

A K 4


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

Opening Lead: 6

“Wrongs unredressed, or insults unavenged.”

— William Wordsworth

I’m willing to bet that if this three-no-trump deal was slipped into a pairs game, most Souths would win the opening club lead in dummy, cross to hand with a diamond, then lead a heart to the king and ace. Eventually declarer would emerge with 10 tricks and no one would think anything more of the deal, even though declarer had done his best to go down in his contract and East had let it through! Can you see why?

On winning the opening club lead, declarer should immediately go after hearts by leading a low heart from dummy. As he can afford to lose two heart tricks, he must take insurance against a defender’s holding two stoppers — which will be the case if East has the guarded heart ace.

On the actual sequence of play at the table, imagine that the heart king had been allowed to win. Now, when a second heart lead did not set the suit up, hearts would be dead. The point is that North had only one side-entry in the form of the diamond ace. Declarer can set up hearts but cannot reach them.

Ducking the first round of hearts preserves the needed additional entry in the suit itself. Declarer can win the return and play a heart to the king, ready to lead a third round if the defenders duck. If they take the ace, the suit will be good, and there is still an entry to the board.


South Holds:

J 10
K Q 6 5 4 3
A 9 2
J 5


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
ANSWER: In these auctions new suits by responder at the three-level are natural and game-forcing. Here, you are well-placed to give preference to three spades; your strong doubleton is just as good as three-card support. My second choice would be to temporize with a call of three diamonds, the fourth suit, asking for clarification.


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