Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W


9 6 5

K Q 3

K Q J 7 2

Q 10


Q J 8 4

8 6 5

10 5

J 8 4 2


K 7 3

7 2

A 6 3

K 9 7 6 3


A 10 2

A J 10 9 4

9 8 4

A 5


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

Opening Lead: Q

“I … hold there is no sin but ignorance.”

— Christopher Marlowe

The point of the defense to four hearts in today’s deal is that East must try to kill the diamond suit. If declarer wins the spade lead and takes out all the trumps, then East should hold up the diamond ace until the third round (and West should cooperate by playing high-low to show two diamonds). If declarer tackles the diamonds before exhausting trumps, so as to leave a trump re-entry in dummy, East must win the second diamond and lead a third, giving West a ruff. Thus the defenders should win either a trump or a club in addition to two spades and a diamond.

Can South do better, though? Yes, if he reads the position. South ducks the opening lead and wins the second spade, West having led a low spade to East’s king. Now South plays one round of diamonds. As West will show an even number of diamonds, East holds up the diamond ace. Declarer draws the rest of the trumps, perforce, and reverts to diamonds, East ducking again. Declarer now exits with a spade. West does best to win and lead out his remaining spade winner since he cannot afford to open up the clubs, but South discards a diamond from hand and from dummy on the 13th spade. West now has to lead a club and declarer should guess what to do. (If West had the high club, maybe the defenders would have arranged for East to win the third spade.)


South Holds:

K 7 3
7 2
A 6 3
K 9 7 6 3


South West North East
Pass 1 1 Pass
1 NT Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: Is two clubs natural or artificial? You would get many loud opinions on either side of this issue, but fortunately you do not have to commit yourself. Simply raise to three clubs and let partner tell you how he meant his call. If he intended it as artificial, he will doubtless describe his hand-pattern. If natural, you are in your side’s best strain.


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