Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Vulnerable: Both

Dealer: East


A K J 10

10 8

Q J 4 3 2



9 7 6 4


K 9 7 6

J 9 6 3


5 2

Q J 6 2

A 10

10 8 7 5 2


Q 8 3

A K 9 7 4 3

8 5

A 4


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

Opening Lead: Diamond six

“On gods or fools the high risk falls — on you —

The clean clear bitter-sweet that’s not for me.”

— Rupert Brooke

As opening leader when you want to protect a vulnerable trump holding against a finesse, you might try to steer declarer off course by leading a card he may think is a singleton. Now he might reject the finesse for fear of allowing the defensive ruff. Sometimes the distraction can be even more blatant.

As East, defending four hearts, you win the diamond lead and should assume that partner has the diamond king, or he would have led a higher spot-card. There is no room for any high card in his hand but that one, so the key to the defense will be to try to take two trump tricks. Your best shot to do that may be to shift to the spade two at trick two. Declarer will win the trick and surely assume that the spades are 5-1.

A likely line for him might be to cash the heart ace and then cross to dummy in clubs to lead the heart 10. When you follow low imperturbably, will he finesse, playing you for a genius, or will he fear that if West wins the second trump, he can give you a spade ruff to set the hand? It may depend on whether you have managed to put one over on him before.

The same maneuver is available if you hold K-Q-x of trump. Simulating a singleton may prevent declarer from taking a first-round finesse with a combined 9- or 10-card trump holding, for fear of running into a ruff.


South holds:

A K J 10
10 8
Q J 4 3 2


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
1 Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: You have a little extra in hand here, but your doubleton club honors and weak diamond spots argue for caution. If you were going to bid on, I prefer a bid of two no-trump to a reraise to three diamonds, but given that partner did not invite game, I’d pass reluctantly.


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