Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: None


K 8 7 2

A K J 7 6 2

A 6 4


J 8 6

J 4

9 8 5 4 3

Q 10 9


K 9 4 2

10 5 3


K J 7 5 3


A Q 10 7 5 3

A Q 9 6


8 2


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 5 NT Pass
7 All Pass    

Opening Lead: 4

“It is the logic of our times,

No subject for immortal verse —

That we who lived by honest dreams

Defend the bad against the worse.”

— Cecil Day-Lewis

I try not to be too harsh in print when players fall below the standards of perfection; others are not always so charitable. As an example, consider today’s deal, which decided an Indian championship nearly 40 years ago. One table stayed in six hearts, just making. At our featured table, how would you play the grand slam on a diamond lead? (North’s bid of five no-trump asked South to bid the grand slam with two top heart honors.) To make the challenge a fair one, cover the East and West cards.

At the table declarer took the diamond lead and played the heart king and ace. Now the contract could no longer be made when diamonds failed to break. Declarer had five trump tricks, five diamonds and two black aces, but no route to a 13th trick.

However, as declarer needs only five diamond tricks, he should try to cater to diamonds being 5-1 by generating an extra trump trick. The required play is to ruff a spade in dummy at once, then play the heart king and ace, take a second spade ruff, and come back to hand with a diamond ruff. The heart queen and spade ace take care of dummy’s losing clubs, and dummy is now high.

Whoever wrote this hand up said, “South played without thoughtful planning and went down in a hand that a well-trained player would not fail to make.” This was perhaps a little harsh on a player who represented India at the 1972 Olympiad!


South Holds:

A Q 10 7 5 3
A Q 9 6
8 2


South West North East
1 Pass 1 NT Pass
ANSWER: When holding a six-four pattern, always introduce the second suit if you can do so economically, unless it is not headed by a top honor and you are dead minimum for the auction. The point is that by doing so, you let partner know 10 of your cards at once. Repeating your long suit tells him only about six cards in your hand.


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