Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Vulnerable: North-South

Dealer: West



K J 7 5

A 6 5 4

A K 10 8


A Q J 8 7 2

9 4

Q 10 7

Q 3


6 3

10 6 2

K 9 3 2

J 9 7 6


K 10 9 4

A Q 8 3

J 8

5 4 2


South West North East
1 Dbl. Pass
3 Pass 4 All pass

Opening Lead: Heart four

“There is no mistake; there has been no mistake; and there shall be no mistake.”

— Duke of Wellington

In the 2007 Invitation Lederer Memorial Trophy, held in London and sponsored by Bernard Teltscher and the Young Chelsea Bridge Club, Norman Selway, of the Young Chelsea Champions team, took the “Best-Played Hand” award.

A club or low diamond lead would have defeated Selway’s heart game, but West, naturally enough, chose the trump four, to the five, 10 and queen. Now there was no possibility of playing a crossruff to take seven tricks from the trump suit, so Selway started on the right track in an attempt to cut the defenders’ communications when he advanced a diamond from hand. He chose the jack, and when West covered with the queen, correctly allowed it to hold. The trump return was won in dummy; then came the diamond ace and a diamond ruff. A club to the ace allowed North’s last diamond to be trumped, and a club to the king permitted the outstanding trump to be drawn. At that point declarer had eight of the first nine tricks.

Next came a spade to the 10, and West’s jack was the second trick for the defense. Selway’s final move was his refusal to ruff West’s spade ace, discarding a club loser. West was now endplayed into giving declarer access to his orphaned spade king in hand, and dummy’s last trump was Selway’s 10th trick.

Of all the declarers to reach four hearts, Selway was the only one to make it.


South holds:

K 10 9 4
A Q 8 3
J 8
5 4 2


South West North East
1 Pass
1 1 Pass Pass
ANSWER: It would be nice if you could double, fold up your cards, and end the auction. Alas, a double here would show cards — more takeout than penalties. On that basis, maybe your best bet is to give up on the penalty and simply bid one no-trump, which gets your side into a sensible contract.


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

1 Comment

Paul BetheSeptember 7th, 2011 at 12:04 am

This hand has an intriguing symmetry if West ducks the DJ.

East wins the K. A non-spade leads to the endplay in the column, so they return a spade, Ten, Jack, and another trump.

Now South engages in a similar winkle-endplay by playing for West to hold Hx in clubs and 3 out of QT97 of diamonds.

South cashes the AD AKC, and now when leading the third diamond, because of the spots, E must let W win the trick, and then they are endplayed to lead spades.