Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, May 10th, 2011

Vulnerable: North-South

Dealer: South


Q 10 6

A Q 6 4

J 10 9 3

9 2


K J 9 8 5

Q 5 2

K Q J 10 7


A J 8 7 4

7 3

K 8 6

6 5 3


K 9 5 3 2

10 2

A 7 4

A 8 4


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

*Hearts and a minor

Opening Lead: Club king

“I long ago came to the conclusion that life is six-to-five against.”

— Damon Runyon

To celebrate the Cavendish Pairs tournament being played all this week in Henderson, Nev., this week’s deals all come from the event held 10 years ago.

After West had shown a two-suiter, Adam Zakrzewski (South) landed in three spades. On a top-club lead, Adam ducked and won the heart-jack shift with dummy’s queen.

He ran the diamond jack to West’s queen, took the top-heart return in dummy, and repeated the diamond finesse. Then he played a club to the ace and a spade to the queen and ace. Once the 5-0 trump break came to light, declarer knew he had three top losers, so must try to restrict East to just one more trump trick. That looks unlikely, doesn’t it?

At trick eight East returned the spade jack so that dummy would have to ruff declarer’s club loser with a significant trump. A less imaginative club return would have worked better.

Adam took the spade jack in hand, cashed the diamond ace, then ruffed his club loser in dummy with the spade 10. He had reduced to a three-card ending where both East and South were left only with spades. Adam led a red-suit winner from dummy, and when East ruffed in with the spade seven, he underruffed with the three. That left him with the trump 9-5 over East’s 8-4 for the last two tricks.


South holds:

10 8
9 6 4 2
A 8 4
Q 8 5 4


South West North East
1 Pass 1
Pass 1 Pass 1 NT
Pass 2 NT Pass 3 NT
All pass
ANSWER: West has shown clubs and spades and about 17 points. Since neither of those suits seems to be behaving well for declarer, you should aim to find as passive a lead as possible. The choice is between the heart six (second from a bad suit) and the spade 10. I prefer the spade 10 partly because partner should find it easier to read.


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


JørnMay 24th, 2011 at 9:34 am

Dear sir

After repeating the siamond hook, West is known to have at most one spade. Is it not reasonable to advance the ten of spades now?

Then I think the timing will be right for the end play.

Best wishes, Jørn

bobbywolffMay 24th, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Hi Jorn,

Yes, you are indeed correct, but, of course, it will fail if West had, at that critical point in the hand, the singleton Jack of spades.

Since this was a real hand, played by one of the invitees in this prestigious tournament, we reported the hand as it was played and defended, warts and all.

Thanks, for at least trying to improve the declarer’s play, for the benefit of consideration by enthusiastic readers. I, for one, appreciate your industry.

NickJune 5th, 2011 at 6:17 pm

I watch mistakes on what day you publish the syndicate. This deal isn’t supposed to be on May 10, 2011 and May 22, 2011. So please change May 22, 2011 to May 23, 2011 because when someone tries 052311, it says, “not found”.