Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday June 25th, 2011

Vulnerable: North-South

Dealer: West


K Q 4 3

A J 2

A 10 6




K 10 9 5 3

K J 8 7 5 3



J 9 8 2

Q 4


Q 7 6 5 4 3


A 10 6 5

8 7 6

Q 4 2

10 9 2


South West North East
2 * Dbl. Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
4 Pass 4 All pass

*Hearts and a minor

Opening Lead: Club eight

“People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise.”

— Somerset Maugham

In today’s deal from last year’s European Championships, four spades would have been easy if declared by North on a club lead. However, Marianne Harding as South received the singleton club lead and had to win this in dummy to draw four rounds of trump. West pitched two diamonds and a heart, and declarer now astutely led a diamond to the 10.

When that held, she decided to play East for a doubleton heart honor. She cashed the diamond ace, then the heart ace, and exited with a heart to endplay East, who had to lead a club into the tenace. Had East unblocked her heart honor under the ace, Harding would have taken her remaining club winner, then exited with a diamond to West, who would have had to concede a heart trick to dummy.

Very nicely done, but could the defense have done better? West does best to pitch two hearts and a diamond on the run of the spades, coming down to five diamonds and three hearts, and then split her honors when declarer leads a diamond toward the A-10.

Declarer wins and plays the heart ace, again forcing East to decide whether to unblock. If she does not, she is endplayed with the heart queen to lead clubs. If she does unblock, declarer cashes the club king to squeeze West.

If West bares her heart king, declarer establishes a heart. If West pitches a diamond, declarer leads the diamond 10 from dummy and eventually collects a second heart trick.


South holds:

K 10 9 5 3
K J 8 7 5 3


South West North East
1 Pass 1
The best way to get both suits into play now is to jump to two no-trump, which guarantees at least a 5-5 pattern in the unbid suits. Even if you play a call of one no-trump as unusual here (I prefer it to be strong and balanced), your extra card in the red suits warrants the additional pre-emption.


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