Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: Both


Q 10 9 2

8 6 5 3


J 7 4


A 7 5 3

K 9 7

10 9 8 4 2



K 6

Q J 10 4

7 6 5

Q 9 5 3


J 8 4

A 2

K Q 3

A K 10 8 2


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
2NT Pass 3NT All Pass

Opening Lead: 10

“Praising all alike, is praising none.”

— John Gay

Today’s deal from the United Kingdom arose in the annual House of Lords vs. House of Commons bridge match for the Jack Perry Trophy. Over the last 35 years the standard of bridge in this match has generally been respectable, with quite a few occasional and even serious duplicate players bringing a touch of class to the proceedings.


When Bridget Prentice for the Commons made her natural lead of the diamond 10 against three no-trump, declarer, Lord Skelmersdale, took care to play dummy’s jack, recognizing that he might need an extra entry to dummy should East hold club length. (He could of course have played the ace, so long as he unblocked the king or queen under it.)


A club to the ace first would have captured a singleton queen, but rightly concerned with the paucity of entries to dummy, declarer called for the club jack, covered with the queen by East (Dr. John Marek) and captured with the ace. The club king was played next, bringing the 4-1 break to light. But now, Lord Skelmersdale’s careful play at trick one allowed him to re-enter dummy with the diamond ace to finesse against East’s club nine. That was nine tricks, and a game swing to the Lords when South for the Commons did not manage the minor suits to best effect.


This line of play guarded against four of the possible four-card club combinations with East, while losing to a singleton queen in either hand, so it was clearly the odds-on play.


South Holds:

A 7 5 3
K 9 7
10 9 8 4 2


South West North East
1 Dbl. Pass
ANSWER: You do not have enough to invite game but have more than enough to bid twice in competition if appropriate. Since your most likely game is spades, you should plan to respond in spades, then bid diamonds if the opponents repeat their clubs. This would suggest equal or better diamonds. With longer spades, you would not bother with the diamonds at all.


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 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact