Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Dealer: North

Vul: E-W


A 4 3

J 10 5

9 7 5

A 9 7 3


K J 2

6 2

K Q 10

Q 8 6 5 4


Q 9 6 5

9 7

A 8 6 3 2

J 2


10 8 7

A K Q 8 4 3

J 4

K 10


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

* Drury: a maximum pass with heart support

Opening Lead: King

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or to lose.”

— Lyndon B. Johnson

In today’s problem from last year’s Bermuda tournament, imagine that the devil has tempted you to give up on sensible contracts such as heart part-scores, or even the relatively practical contract of three no-trump, where you would have nine fast winners if the defenders could not cash five tricks first. Consider the hand first as a single-dummy problem in four hearts, by looking at just the North-South cards.


Obviously, the defenders could meanly have cashed two diamonds and shifted to a spade to leave declarer without a prayer. Fortunately, your inelegant auction has left them in the dark about your hand, so they lead a top diamond and shift to a trump. Make the most of your escape!


With nine top winners but no realistic chance of a squeeze, you need to take advantage of your club spots to generate an extra winner for your side. The best (indeed, almost the only way) to do that is to draw two rounds of trumps ending in dummy, then play a club to the 10.


While leading the king and running the 10 lets West cover from a three-card or two-card holding, thus needing another card well-located, the indicated line wins whenever East has honor-third or honor-doubleton in clubs, as well as when either defender has Q-J-x, without needing to guess what to play on the third round of the suit. And, what’s more, it works!


South Holds:

A 4 3
J 10 5
9 7 5
A 9 7 3


South West North East
Pass Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
ANSWER: You made the right decision on the previous round to make a simple raise to two hearts. When partner shows real extras, you have enough to bid game despite your poor diamond holding. I would suggest bidding three no-trump to offer a choice of games to your partner. This suggests only three hearts and weak diamonds, with values in the other suits.


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