Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Vulnerable: Neither

Dealer: West


A J 8 6 4


7 5

K Q 2


7 2

10 3 2

Q 10 6

J 10 6 5 3


K Q 9 5 3

K 9 7 6 4

8 4 2



8 5

A K J 9 3

A 9 8 7 4


South West North East
Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 2 NT Pass
3 Pass 3 Pass
4 Pass 4 Dbl.
Pass Pass 5 All pass

Opening Lead: Heart two

“All men are equal — all men, that is to say, who possess umbrellas.”

— E.M. Forster

At the Gold Coast Tournament in Australia last year, the quarterfinal teams match between a Polish squad and the Australian Juniors squad led by Barry Goren of the United States was dead level with one deal to go.

At one table the Poles played in four no-trump, while the Goren team played in five clubs. You would not fancy the Goren team’s equity here, would you? If the no-trump game made, the Polish team would gain at least an IMP and win the match. In four no-trump the Polish declarer (North) won the heart lead and tested clubs. Then he followed the perfectly sensible but disastrous line of taking two diamond finesses against the 10 and queen. Since West had shifted to spades rather than continuing hearts at trick three, the defenders beat the game by only one trick.

Thus the fate of five clubs would determine the need for overtime. Andy Hung finessed the heart at trick one, won the heart return, and played three rounds of diamonds at once, ruffing low when the queen appeared.

Now came the top trump from dummy, but it was plain sailing from here on. Two rounds of hearts stood up, then came the spade ace and a spade ruff, followed by the fourth diamond ruffed by West and overruffed by dummy. In the three-card ending, declarer led a plain card from dummy and ruffed it low. West could overruff, but then had to lead into the trump tenace at trick 12 to concede the contract.


South holds:

K Q 9 5 3
K 9 7 6 4
8 4 2


South West North East
3 Pass
Pass Dbl. Pass Pass
ANSWER: When the opponents double you for penalties at a low level, unless you know they’ve done the wrong thing, you tend to assume they have a trump stack. Here, when East passes West’s takeout double, you KNOW you’re in trouble. Redouble for rescue. You have a fair chance to find an eight-card fit — maybe one not splitting so badly.


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