Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: None


K 7 5

A 7 4

Q J 6

A 8 7 4


Q 6 4

J 8 3 2

K 10 8 4

J 9



Q 10 9

A 9 7 3 2

Q 10 3 2


A J 10 9 8 2

K 6 5


K 6 5


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 1 NT Pass
2* Pass 2 Pass
4 All Pass    
*New Minor, a forcing relay

Opening Lead: 4

“Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them.”

— Dion de Boucicault

Sometimes you duck with the idea of saving your honors for later, when you can get the maximum use out of them.

For example, when West leads the diamond four against four spades, it looks normal to put up an honor from dummy. However, if East wins and does not return the suit (allowing South to discard, and then discard again on dummy’s established diamond honor), South will lose a trick in each side suit, making only nine tricks unless he takes an inspired view in trumps.

Now let’s see what happens if South plays low from dummy at trick one. It is going to take a pretty brave East player to insert the nine and run the risk of losing to a singleton 10 in declarer’s hand, or possibly even to a doubleton 10 if West’s lead was from K-8-4 originally.

Surely, most East players will put up the ace. This will enable South, sometime later in the deal, to make a routine loser-on-loser play in diamonds for his contract. (South runs the diamond queen while discarding a club and afterwards discards a heart on the jack.)

The recommended play also picks up a trick when East started with both the diamond ace and king, but not the 10. Would anybody insert an eight or nine from A-K-9-x or A-K-8-x when dummy played low? If they would, you should either stop playing against them, or hold your cards much farther back!


South Holds:

K 7 5
A 7 4
Q J 6
A 8 7 4


South West North East
    1 Pass
3 NT Pass 5 Pass
ANSWER: Some auctions do not require excessive navel contemplation. You showed a balanced 13-15, and partner suggested that five diamonds might be better than no-trump. You may not agree with him, but you were not consulted, since you have described your hand already. So pass and respect his decision. (Maybe partner has seven diamonds to the king, the spade ace and club king, and a void in hearts.)


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


Paul BetheNovember 30th, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Just to note, that on this hand, if EW were playing 3rd/low leads, the defense would not make a mistake.

West would lead the 8 of diamonds, and E would know that either W has KT8(x) or 8x. Either way, it is safe to put in the 9 (and correct if hoping West can get in for a diamond ruff).

sherry AndrewsNovember 30th, 2010 at 10:33 pm

I’m interested in learning how to play bridge. I know about the opening bid,what I want you to do is e-mail tomorrow’s game and give me the winning cards so I can see if I figure it out. I can pretty much get one of the winning cards some times.

bobbywolffDecember 1st, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Hi Paul,

What if West held: s. xxxx

h. Kxxx

d. 8

c. Kxxx

Leaving the declarer to hold:

s. AQJ10x

h. Jx

d. K10xx

c. Jx

If you will excuse me for saying so: “Checkmate”, but since this is undoubtedly the first time that you may be wrong, I will forgive you.

Only kidding. Thanks for writing and I really do appreciate your continued interest.

bobbywolffDecember 1st, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Hi Sherry,

Thanks for taking up bridge and do yourself a favor and stay with it until many difficult parts of it clear themselves up.

I am not able to fulfill your request due to the logistics and time required to do as you ask, however do not let that restriction interfere in your progress in learning more and more.