Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, January 24th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: Both


Q 10 8 5

A J 5 2

A 5

J 7 6



K Q 9

Q J 3

K Q 10 9 4 3


J 7 6 4

10 7 6 4

6 4 2

A 5


A K 9 3

8 3

K 10 9 8 7

8 2


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

Opening Lead: King

“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream.”

— Lao Tzu

In today’s deal from last year’s Bermuda Congress, a visiting Austrian team showed off their talents. An efficient and controlled auction allowed Andreas Babsch to reach four spades from the South seat. Rather fortuitously, the defense could not attack clubs quite so easily from the West position. West led the club king and a club to the ace. East shifted to a heart, letting Babsch win in dummy and play the diamond ace, then the diamond king, followed by a thoughtful diamond ruff with the spade 10.


A low spade to the ace and a spade back to the king exposed the 4-1 break. Declarer finessed against the spade jack and drew trumps before cashing out the diamonds. Ten tricks were made, but a glance at the full deal will show you that declarer had to be careful in the trump suit.


South needed to ruff the third diamond with the spade 10, or to lead that card to a top honor in his hand on the first round of drawing trumps. Additionally, the first round of trumps had to feature a high-card from the South hand and not the spade queen from dummy. Otherwise, when the 4-1 trump break comes to light, there are no entries to dummy to take the trump finesse.


Just for the record: If East had been on lead, three rounds of clubs would have allowed East to pitch a diamond, and declarer would have had no way home after that start.


South Holds:

J 7 6 4
10 7 6 4
6 4 2
A 5


South West North East
Pass 1 Dbl. Pass
1 2 Pass Pass
ANSWER: You may not have a great hand, and your partner has denied real extras by not competing to two spades himself, but you are supposed to look at your own hand and realize that when you hold four trumps, and thus a known fit, it is your responsibility to compete once more. Given your minimum action the first time, partner won’t assume you have any extras.


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


jim2February 7th, 2011 at 10:55 pm

It’s a great hand, but you probably did not meant to run it again today.

bobbywolffFebruary 13th, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Hi Jim2,

While rummaging through earlier internet columns, I happened to see your comment. Yes, I can assure you we do not run (or at least intend to) the same hand within any 10 year time period and hardly ever, even then.

Likely, something untoward and unforeseen caused it to happen on the internet, and if so I apologize and only hope that if it has not been corrected it might hopefully be overlooked.

Thanks for your continued vigilance.