Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Dealer: East

Vul: Neither


A J 9 7 6

A 8 5 4

10 3

K 6


K 5 4

Q 9

Q 9 8 7 6

A 4 2


Q 2

10 7 6 3 2

A 4 2

8 7 3


10 8 3


K J 5

Q J 10 9 5


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

* Spades

Opening Lead: 7

“We never do anything well till we cease to think about the manner of doing it.”

— William Hazlitt

In today’s deal from the NEC tournament held 12 months ago in Yokohama, both declarers went down in game in the match between Bulgaria and South Sweden. (The latter team was a medley of Swedish and South African players — hence the amalgamated name.) 

For Bulgaria the North-South pair tried three no-trump, which was far from hopeless in theory, but had no chance against repeated diamond leads.  

The Swedish declarer was in four spades. West led a diamond and East continued the attack on that suit. Declarer looks in good shape now, doesn’t he? See if you can improve on the line found at the table.  

South passed the spade eight to East’s queen. Back came a heart to the jack, queen and ace. The defenders ducked the first club and won the second to play a second heart. This had the effect of removing declarer’s last comfortable entry to hand.  

Declarer could no longer draw trumps ending in his own hand. Had he retained the trump eight by leading low to dummy on the first round of trumps, all would have been well. As it was, if he led the spade 10 from hand, it would be covered. So he did his best by playing a trump to dummy’s jack and trying to ruff a heart to hand. However, West could overruff and there was still an inevitable heart loser in dummy.


South Holds:

10 8 3
K J 5
Q J 10 9 5


South West North East
1 1
2 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 3 Pass
ANSWER: When a minor suit appears to have been agreed upon, it is sometimes hard to tell what a cuebid means. A simple rule is that any cuebid below three no-trump shows a desire to play in no-trump, until it becomes clear to the contrary. That being so, you should bid three no-trump now, since you have a heart stop.


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