Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, July 9th, 2011

Vulnerable: Neither

Dealer: West


K 10 8 7 4 2

A 8 7 5

J 6



A 5

J 10 9 6

10 3 2

A 8 7 5


Q J 6


Q 9 7 5 4

Q 10 9 3


9 3

K Q 4 2

A K 8

K J 4 2


South West North East
Pass Pass Pass
1 NT Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 4 All pass

Opening Lead: Diamond two

“It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”

— Leonardo da Vinci

The match between Russia and Netherlands from last summer’s European Championships threw up this challenging deal.

Against the Russian contract of four spades, the defenders led hearts at every turn, and East could put his partner in with the club ace for a second ruff to defeat the game.

In our room, the Dutch duly reached four hearts. A diamond went to the jack, queen and ace, and a spade was led, the king winning (the first essential element of the defense). The next spade went to the ace, but at this point West erred by cashing the club ace before continuing a diamond. This gave declarer an easy ride.

Best defense after winning the spade ace would have been to continue with the diamond 10. South wins and must ruff a diamond to dummy and a spade to hand.

West does best to discard on this trick, but declarer crosses to the heart ace and leads a club to the jack and ace. West can return a trump, but declarer scores four plain-suit winners and six trump tricks for 10 tricks in all.

Is there a defense? Yes; West must lead a top heart at trick one (which commits declarer to sacrificing an entry either to hand or to dummy) and duck the first spade. Then if declarer plays on spades, West goes after diamonds. If declarer tries to ruff clubs, West leads trumps again. Either way, declarer ends up a trick short.


South holds:

Q J 6
Q 9 7 5 4
Q 10 9 3


South West North East
Pass 1 2 2
ANSWER: You are too short of quick tricks to drive this hand to five clubs. The choice is to cue-bid to show a good hand and club support, or to jump to four clubs, which tends to be based on shape, not high cards. Since you suspect that the opponents are about to bid four of one major or the other and your hand suggests sacrificing, the jump to four clubs feels most descriptive.


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