Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 15, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: None


6 5 4 2

5 4

K 8 7 3

K 10 9


7 3

A 10 7 3

A J 10 2

Q 5 4



K J 9 8 6 2

9 6

J 7 6 2


A K Q J 10 9


Q 5 4

A 8 3


South West North East
3 4 4 All Pass

Opening Lead: A

“Truth, like a torch, the more it’s shook it shines.”

— Sir William Hamilton

In four spades (reached after South’s strong jump overcall of the pre-empt), West led the heart ace and a second heart to East’s king. It looks as if you need a 3-3 diamond break, or else must guess which opponent has ace doubleton. But the auction suggests that West may well hold four diamonds headed by the ace. Can you see what you can do if that is the case?

Provided that East has the diamond jack, 10 or nine in his doubleton, and holds one of the outstanding club honors, your spade game can succeed.

Ruff the heart, draw trumps, and play the diamond queen. West will win and can do little else but return a low diamond. (Everything else, except perhaps a deceptive club queen, looks worse.) You now duck the diamond to East. If he returns a diamond, the suit is 3-3 and you can discard a club from your hand. A heart lead gives you a ruff and sluff, so the best he can do is broach the club suit, thus enabling you to play that suit for no losers when the honors are divided.

Note that if either defender is forced to open up the club suit, he should do so by leading his honor, thus giving declarer the losing option of playing him for both honors.

And one final point: West should have switched to a trump at trick two. Now declarer cannot ruff dummy’s last heart except by using the diamond king prematurely.


South Holds:

6 5 4 2
5 4
K 8 7 3
K 10 9


South West North East
    1 NT Pass
Pass 2 Pass Pass
ANSWER: In this sequence I like to use takeout doubles from both sides of the table, and your hand qualifies for that action. You have not guaranteed four spades. Indeed, with an unsuitable hand for a takeout double, you might bid two spades yourself since partner knows from your failure to transfer that you do not have five spades. But your partner will bid on the assumption that you do have four spades.


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