Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Vulnerable: Neither

Dealer: South


Q 10 9 4 2

10 7

Q 10 4

Q 10 8


8 6

8 6 5 2

A K 9 6 3

J 6


K J 7 3

J 3

8 7 5

A 9 7 2


A 5

A K Q 9 4

J 2

K 5 4 3


South West North East
1 NT Pass 2 Pass
2 All pass

Opening Lead: Diamond king

“The extremists’ oversimplifications and their baseless generalizations reflect the softness of those who cannot bear to face the burdens of a continuing struggle against a powerful and resourceful enemy.”

— William Fulbright

Today’s deal from the Gold Coast Congress — set in sunny Brisbane, Australia — features a delicate point or two on defense.

Whatever you think of South’s strong no-trump opening (and my opinion would not be suitable for tender ears), it got North-South to a reasonable two-spade contract.

When West led a top diamond, how should East signal? At the table East encouraged the lead to prevent an unwelcome shift. Continuing diamonds would not do anything for declarer that he could not do himself. Accordingly, the defenders played three rounds of diamonds, declarer pitching a club. Then South led ace and a second spade to the 10 and jack, and East had his second problem.

The obvious answer is that if partner has a high club or heart, the contract is going down; if not, there seems little hope for the defense. But if East is going to shift to a heart, he should play the low one, not the jack. This was what happened at the table where Pablo Lambardi and Barry Rigal were defending. Not being blessed with second sight, declarer quite reasonably tried to cash three top hearts to pitch a club loser from dummy; this would be safe as long as East had three or four hearts. Alas for declarer, East could score his trump seven for down one.

Note that if West could have shifted to the heart jack, declarer could have used the heart 10 as an extra entry to assist in the process of drawing trump.


South holds:

A 5
A K Q 9 4
J 2
K 5 4 3


South West North East
1 Pass 1 NT Pass
ANSWER: Although you have an attractive hand, you do not have enough to force to game, so a jump to three clubs would be a wild overbid. Best is either to bid two clubs and convert a minimum response to two no-trump, or simply to raise to two no-trump directly. With such weak clubs, I prefer the no-trump call. On a hand with the same shape, but the spade ace in the clubs, I’d certainly go the other way.


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