Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: All


Q 7 6 4

J 6 3

J 7 4 2

A 5


A J 5 2

8 5

A 6 3

J 10 9 7


Q 10 9 4

K 10 9 5

Q 8 6 4 2


K 10 9 8 3

A K 7 2

Q 8

K 3


South West North East
1 Pass 3* Pass
3** Pass 3 All Pass
*6-9 high-card points with four or more trumps

Opening Lead: J

“Expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best from those that are learned.”

— Francis Bacon

To mark the U.S. Nationals currently being played in Orlando, all this week’s deals come from last year’s championships in San Diego. Today’s three-spade contract comes from the Senior Knockout Teams, quarterfinal round.

Declarer Melih Ozdil won the club lead in hand, led a club to dummy’s ace, then crossed with a spade to his king. West ducked and East pitched a club. This was good defense by West. Now, although declarer can negotiate trumps easily enough, he still needs to hold his heart losers to one, which is not so easy to do. With East apparently having the heart length, Ozdil advanced the diamond eight (the queen is technically the best play, forcing West to win the first diamond) and ran it to East’s nine. Back came a diamond to the queen and ace, and West now continued diamonds. Ozdil ruffed the third diamond and advanced the spade eight, ducked, East discarding another club. Then he led a third spade, East discarding his last club. West won and could do no better than play back a fourth spade as East pitched a heart.

Ozdil won the trump in dummy and exited with a diamond to East, throwing a heart from hand, endplaying East to open up hearts for declarer’s ninth trick.

The winning defense is for West to shift to hearts after taking the diamond ace. Try as he might, declarer can no longer endplay East at the right moment.


South Holds:

Q 10 9 4
K 10 9 5
Q 8 6 4 2


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 NT Pass 3 Pass
ANSWER: It is tempting to try to improve the contract by bidding three no-trump. In practice, while three spades may be an unhappy contract, you will likely find it far harder to score partner’s small spades in a no-trump contract. I would pass now and hope partner finds a way to go plus in the partscore.


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