Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, May 30th, 2011

Vulnerable: East-West

Dealer: East


K 6 3 2

10 6 4

K 9

A K 10 4


Q 4

J 8 7

Q 8 7 6 4 3

6 3



K Q 9 3 2

A J 5

Q J 7 5


A J 10 8 7 5

A 5

10 2

9 8 2


South West North East
1 2 3 Pass
4 All pass

Opening Lead: Heart seven

“Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow.”

— Punch

One reason for ducking a trick in a suit contract is to try to break the defenders’ communications. The difference between conceding an inevitable loser when you want and when the defenders want, is that you can choose which defender has the lead. In today’s deal, South focused on the problem too late.

Defending against four spades, West dutifully led a low heart to the queen and ace. South now drew trumps and led the club nine around to East. That player realized that declarer’s line of play suggested he did not have four clubs. He also realized that declarer might conceivably work out from the bidding to cash one top club, then run all the trumps, baring dummy’s diamond king, to catch him in a strip-squeeze. So East thoughtfully underled his hearts, and West took the jack, then switched to a diamond to set the hand.

Nicely defended; but all South had to do was duck the first trick. He can then win the next heart, draw trumps, ruff the last heart, then pass the club nine to East. That player can either concede a ruff and discard, or lead up to one of the minor-suit tenaces.

Note that if South focuses immediately on keeping West off lead for the entire deal, he must cover the opening lead with dummy’s heart 10, or East may cross him up by ducking trick one altogether.


South holds:

Q 3
J 10 3 2
A Q 3
K 10 6 4


South West North East
1 Dbl. Pass 2 NT
All pass
ANSWER: It feels right to lead a heart rather than a club. (East has implied a good club stop.) That being said, a low heart seems safer than a card from your sequence. If either North or East is short in hearts, you don’t want to waste one of your high hearts unnecessarily.


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