Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Dealer: West

Vul: E-W


J 10 7

A 6 5 4

A 10 2

K J 10


A 8 6

10 8 2

K 7 6 3

4 3 2


Q 9 4 3 2

K 9 3


A Q 8 6


K 5

Q J 7

Q J 9 5 4

9 7 5


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

Opening Lead: Ace

“The resources of civilization are not yet exhausted.”

— William Gladstone

It is said that the looker-on sees most of the game. After the missed opportunity in today’s deal from the Compact Knockouts at last year’s Bermuda Regional, the spectators were able to exchange knowing looks when the deal ended.


South had finished in the reasonable contract of three diamonds after East had bid spades. West began, sensibly enough, with the spade ace, and shifted equally sensibly to a club. When East played three rounds of the suit, declarer won in dummy and crossed to her heart queen, East ducking the trick. This is sometimes the right play, but here all it did was revive an apparently moribund contract.


Now came the trump finesse, and a repeated finesse to find the bad news. With the lead in the North hand and declarer needing five of the last six tricks, try the effect of cashing the spade king, leading a heart to the ace, ruffing a spade low, and giving up the third heart to East. That player has a choice of exiting with either a spade or a club, in either case giving a ruff and discard to all three players at the table. However, declarer is down to the diamond J-9, dummy has the diamond ace and a heart, and West holds the guarded diamond king. When South ruffs in, he gives West the choice of losing his trump king on this trick or the next. It is a perfect smother coup!


And at the table? South conceded one down when East discarded on the second trump.


South Holds:

K 5
Q J 7
Q J 9 5 4
9 7 5


South West North East
1 Dbl. Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
ANSWER: Your partner’s cue-bid after doubling asks you to define your hand more precisely — in particular, to identify if you have a club stop. It should be game-forcing. (With an invitational hand he would just raise to three diamonds now.) You have no club stop and no feature to emphasize, so put on the brakes, at least temporarily, with a bid of three diamonds.


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