Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Vulnerable: Both

Dealer: North


A K J 2


A J 3 2

Q 6 4 3


7 6

10 7 6 5 2

Q 8 7 6

K 2


Q 10 8 5

K Q 9

10 9 4

J 9 8


9 4 3

A 8 4 3

K 5

A 10 7 5


South West North East
1 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
2 NT Pass 3 Pass
3 Pass 3 NT All pass

Opening Lead: Heart five

“Nothing is so useless as a general maxim.”

— Lord Macaulay

Knowing when to duck and when to win a trick can be very difficult to judge. Consider the play in three no-trump today and ask yourself: would you have gotten the play right, even looking at all four hands?

At both tables West led a low heart. The Italian world champion sitting South ducked East’s queen and then the king. Now, when West turned up with the long hearts and the club king, declarer had to go down.

In the other room, where Tarek Sadek of Egypt was declarer, the auction followed the route shown. After North bid his shape out, South’s three hearts was a cue-bid agreeing clubs, but North’s hand seemed unsuitable for a five-level contract.

Here, too, West led the heart five to the jack, queen and four. When East continued with the heart king, Sadek, for Egypt, after considerable thought, went against conventional wisdom by taking his heart ace on the second round. Then he played ace and another club. West won the king and switched to a spade, so Sadek realized that this meant that the defenders could not run the heart suit.

Accordingly, he found the elegant (and far from obvious!) play of cashing his clubs, then exiting with a heart. East had to win and play either a spade or a diamond, thus giving declarer his ninth trick. Had West risen with the heart 10, crashing his partner’s nine, and played another spade, declarer’s heart eight would have been established.


South holds:

9 4 3
A 8 4 3
K 5
A 10 7 5


South West North East
1 Pass
1 Pass 1 Pass
3 Pass 4 Pass
ANSWER: In this auction, facing a hand that has defined itself as invitational, your partner must bite the bullet with an invitational hand by passing or by bidding game. Thus a reraise to four clubs is best played as natural and forcing, requesting a cue-bid. So it looks logical to cue-bid four diamonds, since a control in the unbid suit rates to be what your partner wants to hear most.


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