Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 29, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: E/W


A Q 6 5

10 9 7 3


A 9 3


10 8 7 2


5 4

J 7 6 5 4 2



K Q J 8 6 4

J 8 7 6

Q 10


K J 4 3

A 5

Q 10 9 3 2

K 8


South West North East
Dbl. Pass 3 Pass
3 Pass 5 Pass
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead: 2

“Faint, faint and clear,

Faint as the music that in dreams we hear

Shaking the curtain-fold of sleep,

That shuts away

The world’s hoarse voice.”

— Mary Ainge de Vere

After East’s pre-empt North-South had an intelligent auction to slam. North’s jump to five spades asked South to bid on with a heart control, and South could hardly refuse, despite his minimum hand. (Incidentally, had he held the guarded heart king, the right call here would have been five no-trump.)

Against six spades West led his singleton heart. South won and felt he had to draw at least two rounds of trump at once in case of a bad side-suit break. Take a moment to consider how you would protect against a bad trump break.

The winning line is to cash the trump ace and queen — by no means obvious, is it? Now South took the two top diamonds, crossed to his spade jack, and led out a low diamond. Had West followed (or discarded), declarer would have ruffed, come back to hand with a club, and drawn the trump, conceding a heart at the end.

In fact, West ruffed in, so declarer pitched a heart from dummy and could win the club return, discard both of dummy’s hearts on his two high diamonds, and ruff his losing heart in dummy for the 12th trick.

Without the weak-two bid, it is far from clear whether this would be the best line, but because West was known to have no more hearts, it made it the indicated play.

You can also succeed by unblocking diamonds before touching spades, but that would be a needless risk.


South Holds:

10 8 7 2
5 4
J 7 6 5 4 2


South West North East
  1 Dbl. 1
Pass 1 Dbl. Pass
ANSWER: What an impossible problem! Partner has hearts and a strong hand; other than that you know very little about his shape. A case can be made for a natural two clubs, but this may not be so easy for your partner to work out. Alternatively, you could pass and hope to buy some spade length opposite. If you don’t trust your partner to understand a call of two clubs, passing would be your best guess today.


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