Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Vulnerable: Neither

Dealer: South


7 3 2


A 8 7 6 4 3

9 6 5


K Q J 8 6

5 4 3


K 7 4 2


A 10 9 5

10 9 6

Q J 10

J 10 8



A K Q J 8 7

K 5 2

A Q 3


South West North East
1 1 Pass 2
4 All pass

Opening Lead: Spade king

“Of all the icy blasts that blow on love, a request for money is the most chilling and havoc-wreaking.”

— Gustave Flaubert [BFQ 496.10]

In today’s four-heart game, had West led his singleton diamond, South would have won the king, drawn trump, and ducked a diamond. East wins this trick, but declarer’s club losers can now be discarded on diamonds.

However, after the spade lead, the defenders were still in the game. East, realizing the potential danger of dummy’s diamonds and knowing South had only one spade, overtook and shifted to the club jack. South covered with the queen, but West won and returned a club, establishing a second trick for East. South was sunk — he still had to lose one more trick in each minor. Down one. It was nice defense by East, but a major error by South.

When the club jack is led, South should have tried to freeze the club suit by playing the ace. If East has the king, the queen will take a trick later, but if West has it and East has the 10 — as seems likely — the club suit is frozen.

A frozen suit is one that neither side can lead without giving up a trick. Say South wins the club ace, draws trumps, discarding spades from the table, and plays the king and a diamond. When West shows out, the diamond is ducked to East, who must attack clubs now to have any chance.

However, if East leads the 10, South covers, West wins, but dummy’s nine is the master. If East leads the eight, South ducks, West wins the king, and South’s queen is high.


South holds:

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


South West North East
1 2 4
ANSWER: Are you a man or a mouse? With the opponents virtually sure to have at least nine hearts between them, your partner strongly rates to have spade tolerance and short hearts. This is the moment to bid four spades in your most confident tone of voice, rather than selling out to four hearts. Both contracts could easily be laydown!


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


Alex AlonJune 16th, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Once again thank you for the wonderfull blogging. Today i have learned the meaning of a “Frozen suit” so it was a good day 🙂

Alex Alon


bobbywolffJune 16th, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Hi Alex,

Many of these quaint phrases, such as “Frozen Suit” have emerged perhaps 10 to 15 years ago, since for a significant time before that (my long bridge tenure) the name was unknown, at least, to me.

Then other interloping words such as at the “death” came into my bridge vocabulary, which I guess not only applies in bridge (at the end) but also non-bridge writing, signifying a terminal period.

Time marches on and hopefully with it, more colorful, tasteful descriptions.

Thanks for writing and, of course, your very kind words.