Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: N-S


J 4 2

J 9 4

8 5 3 2

K 7 5


Q 9 5

Q 8 7 6 5

7 6

J 9 3


10 7 6 3

A 2

K 9 4

Q 8 6 2


A K 8

K 10 3

A Q J 10

A 10 4


South West North East
2 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening Lead: six

“Dyspepsy is the ruin of most things: empires, expeditions, and everything else.”

— Thomas de Quincey

Both the defenders and declarers at the Dyspeptics Club are constantly under the scrutiny of their colleagues. The kibitzers tend to believe that it is better to comment and misanalyze than stay silent and be thought a fool.


On today’s deal the kibitzer commented afterwards that a good opportunity had gone begging. Was he right — and if so, what was the chance?


Against three no-trump West led his fourth-highest heart to East’s ace. South followed low, put in the heart 10 on the second round, and West took his queen and cleared the suit. South won in hand, crossed to the club king to take the diamond finesse, then took his extra chance of finding the spade queen doubleton to create an entry to dummy. When that didn’t work, declarer’s one remaining chance was to drop the diamond king. No luck — and declarer finished up with just seven tricks.


Let’s replay the deal on the lead of the heart six. When East follows with the ace, the rule of 11 shows South that West has all the top hearts. Whether hearts are 4-3 or 5-2, declarer cannot win more than one heart trick.


But that is not the full story. To create an extra entry to dummy, declarer drops his heart king under the ace! Now South can reach the North hand one more time by making best use of dummy’s heart jack to repeat the diamond finesse and bring home his game.


South Holds:

10 7 6 3
A 2
K 9 4
Q 8 6 2


South West North East
1 2
Dbl. 2 3 3
ANSWER: This auction suggests five clubs, four diamonds and some extras (though not so much as a classic reverse) since your partner has forced you to give preference at an inconvenient level. Because the opponents have not bid and raised hearts, your partner looks to be short in spades and thus your two hands fit very well. So bid what you think you can make — five clubs.


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


JeffMarch 25th, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Should the bidding box on the Bid with the Aces show a 3D rebid by North, rather than 3H?

bobbywolffMarch 25th, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Hi Jeff,

Yes, definitely it should show a 3 diamond bid, not 3 hearts. I guess it would be possible for North to cue bid, but in this case it is obviously a 3 diamond bid.

Apologies are in order when gremlins strike my side of trying to orderly present the column. We will try and do better.

Thanks for writing.