Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Dealer: East

Vul: Both


K 6 3

Q J 9 5 2

Q 6 5

J 3


J 5 4 2

10 8

A 10 9 4 3

7 2



6 4 3

K J 7 2

A Q 10 9 5


A 10 9 8 7

A K 7


K 8 6 4


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

Opening Lead: 7

“It is a wretched taste to be gratified with mediocrity when the excellent lies before us.”

— Isaac D’Israeli

Today’s four-spade contract comes from the Commonwealth Games. At one table, Lim, for Malaysia, made his game after a club to East’s ace, followed by the club queen to his king. He played a spade to dummy’s king and a spade back to his 10. West won his jack, but that was the end of the defense.


West should have ducked the spade 10. Declarer cannot play another spade or he will lose two more club tricks, and if he starts on hearts, West will ruff the third round and exit with the trump jack. Dummy is then dead.


Another declarer ruffed a club at trick three, West throwing a heart. Then came a heart to the ace and another club ruff, West throwing a diamond. Declarer now cashed the spade king and played a diamond, but another diamond gave the defenders trump control for down one.


English international John Armstrong showed the way. He won the club king and cashed the spade ace, thus keeping an entry to the hearts. Then he played a diamond, which the defenders won. When they continued diamonds, Armstrong ruffed, ran the spade 10, then played hearts. West could ruff when he liked, but dummy’s spade king was the entry for the remaining heart tricks.


There was an unlikely defense to the game. Had East played the club nine at trick one, he would have preserved communications. The defenders can eventually play a third round of clubs to promote a second trump trick for their side.


South Holds:

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


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 1 Pass Pass
ANSWER: You are too strong to sell out now, but your hearts are not worth repeating as there is no guarantee of a fit. Since a double would be for takeout but suggests a better hand, and since you have no real knowledge of a club suit opposite, the safest re-opening action is one no-trump. This suggests 7-10 points and lets partner judge accurately what to do next.


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