Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, February 14th, 2011

Dealer: East

Vul: N-S


J 8 7 6

K 10 9 7

10 7 3 2



9 5 3

A J 6

K Q J 6

10 9 5



Q 8 4 3

A 9 8 5

A Q 8 6


A K Q 10 4

5 2


K 7 4 3 2


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

Opening Lead: King

“But sequence ravelled out of reach

Like balls upon a floor.”

— Emily Dickinson

The NEC tournament in Yokohama takes place over Valentine’s Day every year. To mark this year’s event, I am using deals from the excellent 2010 bulletin, which can be found online at The NEC Bridge Festival Home Page.


Peter Gill contributed a nice play by Brian Senior in today’s deal, where he declared four spades doubled. West led a diamond and accurately shifted to a trump. It looks natural to win this cheaply in dummy and lead a club, but the defenders have the upper hand if they win and lead a second diamond. Declarer can crossruff the minor suits to set up the clubs, but will run out of trumps in the process. At the very end, West can keep a master diamond and the heart ace.


Senior figured out that he needed the heart ace onside, come what may. So he took the trump shift in hand and led a heart up. West ducked, and now declarer could win dummy’s heart king and lead a club. The defenders could take the club ace and cross to the West hand with a heart for the second trump play, but now declarer was in control and could establish clubs.


Had the defenders played to force declarer at trick five, the fact that the heart trick was in the bag would have made the critical difference. Even though the defenders could in fact have prevailed by winning the heart ace and playing a second trump, that does not detract from Senior’s play.


South Holds:

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


South West North East
1 Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 3 NT
All Pass      
ANSWER: To have a shot to beat this contract, you will need to find partner with close to an opening bid. If he does have that hand, maybe he has stayed silent in this auction because he has some length in dummy’s first-bid suit, so lead the diamond nine. At matchpoints a spade might be less “do or die.”


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