Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: Neither


K 9 8

6 5 2

A Q 8 7 5 3



A 7 6 4


9 2

Q 10 8 7 6 5


Q J 5 2

Q J 9 4

J 6 4

3 2


10 3

K 10 8 7 3

K 10

A K 9 4


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

Opening Lead: 7

“Speak now, and I will answer / How shall I help you, say.”

— A.E. Housman

In today’s deal from last year’s NEC invitational teams tournament, you will see two declarers tackling the same four-heart contract. One gets the most challenging lead and makes his contract; the other gets a helpful lead … and guess what happens to him. 

In one room the Swedish declarer received a low club lead. He won in dummy and decided to lead a heart to his king, figuring that if West had a singleton heart honor, it was more likely to be the queen or jack. It was a reasonable play, but the wrong day for it. 

West won his heart ace and cashed the spade ace. The defenders then sat back to see how many more trump tricks they could collect. Declarer played for a trump reduction and managed to escape for down one. 

By contrast Claudio Nunes as South received a diabolical low spade lead from Craig Gower. Nunes guessed well to rise with dummy’s king and, even better, to lead a trump to the eight and ace, making the trump position clear. 

Gower played two more rounds of spades. Nunes ruffed and immediately cashed three rounds of diamonds. When East followed suit, Nunes pitched a club, led a trump to the queen and king, and now could play the club ace, ruff a club, then run the diamonds. 

In the three-card ending, East could do no better than discard a spade. Nunes pitched his master club and led a diamond at trick 12 to ensure one more trump trick for himself and bring home his contract.


South Holds:

K 9 8
6 5 2
A Q 8 7 5 3


South West North East
2 Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: There is no set rule about whether this auction should be forcing, but facing a two-level overcall (which shows close to an opening bid at minimum), it is logical to play a change of suit as forcing. Regardless, South’s hand has heart support and a ruffing value, and the spade king looks well placed. Accordingly, a raise to three hearts seems right on all counts, whether North’s bid was forcing or not.


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