Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: All


A J 5

4 3 2

A 8 5 3

7 5 2


K 8 6 3 2

K 9 7

J 6

K 10 3


Q 9 7 4

10 5

Q 10 7 2

J 9 6



A Q J 8 6

K 9 4

A Q 8 4


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

Opening Lead: To be determined!

“For the race is run by one and one and never by two and two.”

— Rudyard Kipling

The following deal from the 1995 finals of the New York Reisinger features two subtle points in play and defense. Alas, in both rooms these points became evident only in the post-mortem and not at the table.

Four hearts was the contract in both rooms. In the first room West’s heart lead worked fine, up to a point. Declarer, Mike Kamil won in hand and passed the diamond nine. East won his 10 and might have shifted to the club nine (or even the club jack), but in fact he played the club six, to the eight and 10. Now I think a second diamond from West can hardly be wrong (whether declarer has three or four diamonds, there are no discards coming), but West returned the club king and declarer was home.

The game went down in the other room on a spade lead. There, declarer rose with the spade ace at trick one and took an early club finesse of the queen. He now had no chance. But consider what might have happened if South had nonchalantly played low from dummy at trick one! Even if East wins the trick, he may well give up a vital entry to dummy at his next play. And as the cards lay, would he not find it very hard to refrain from playing the spade nine at trick one? If East wins with an honor at this point, declarer can always dispose of his diamond loser on the spade ace.


South Holds:

A J 5
4 3 2
A 8 5 3
7 5 2


South West North East
    1 Pass
2 Pass 4 Pass
ANSWER: Hands up anyone who thought this was Gerber? It is not; it suggests short clubs and a slam-try in spades. Your hand is unbelievably good now; you should cue-bid four diamonds, expecting partner to use Blackwood perhaps. But if instead partner cue-bids four hearts, you have enough to go past four spades. I think a bid of five spades would be best.


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