Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 22, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W


A 6

K 5 3 2


10 9 8 7 4 3


K Q 8 7 5 4

J 9

Q J 8 7



J 3 2

Q 8

K 10 9 5 3



10 9

A 10 7 6 4

A 4 2

Q 6 5


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

Opening Lead: K

“The real business of a ball is either to look out for a wife, to look after a wife, or to look after somebody else’s wife.”

— R.S. Surtees

Today’s deal comes from the Life Master Women’s Pairs held in San Diego in 2009 — the tournament from which all this week’s deals come. You’d expect West to open a weak two spades at almost every table. If East invites game, West rates to reach four spades, down two on a diamond ruff. But how does four hearts by South fare?

On either a diamond or a spade lead, declarer can draw trumps and build a club trick for herself. What about a club lead? The defenders take their two top clubs and a ruff, and declarer claims the balance.

However, the defenders can do better if East ignores the “red herring” of the club jack. East wins the club king at trick one and gives partner the immediate ruff without cashing the second winner. Now the spade shift builds their third trick, and they have the club ace to come. This defense was found by Doug Doub, at the table.

The winner of the women’s event, Shawn Quinn, playing with Sue Picus, declared four hearts on the auction shown. Quinn won the spade lead and had to decide whether to draw trumps (risking two down if the clubs did not split) or go all out for the contract. Because West ostensibly could not hold a low singleton club or she would have led it, Quinn quite reasonably played a club. East won and led a low spade to her partner. Now the club ruff was no longer available, and declarer was back to plus 420.


South Holds:

Q 6 5 4 3
K 4
J 9 7 3 2


South West North East
  1 Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 3
Pass 4 All Pass  
ANSWER: You would normally avoid a short-suit lead if you had a natural trump trick. Here, though, you have excellent chances on a club lead of getting two ruffs if you can put your partner in with the club ace and a second fast entry. Even if partner does not have the club ace, you may win the heart king and get a ruff with your small trump. However, either a spade or a diamond lead might also work.


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