Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: East-West


K 10 7 5 3

J 6 3

10 4

Q 5 3


J 2

Q 10 7 5 2

9 8 2

10 9 8


9 8 4

8 4

A J 6 5

A J 4 2


A Q 6

A K 9

K Q 7 3

K 7 6


South West North East
2 NT Pass 3 Pass
3 Pass 3 NT Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: Club 10

“Time is the feathered thing,

And, whilst I praise

The sparklings of thy looks and call them rays,

Takes wing.”

— Jasper Mayne

Sally Brock of England reported this deal, in which she had declared four spades rather than the somewhat easier three no-trump. Brock was not sure she would be buying a balanced hand opposite, but did know of the 5-3 spade fit.


Against four spades, West led the club 10. Brock won in hand and played the spade queen, then the ace, followed by a third trump to dummy. Next, she played a diamond to her king, then exited with a second diamond, which ran to East’s jack.


East now switched accurately to a heart. Brock won with the ace and ruffed a diamond, hoping the ace would fall. When it didn’t, she crossed to her heart king and played the diamond queen, discarding dummy’s heart jack. With nothing left but clubs now, East had to lead around to the club queen.


Subsequently, Brock noted that had she started drawing trumps with the spade ace first and the queen second, then when West’s jack appeared, she could have overtaken her queen with dummy’s king and played a diamond. Another trump to dummy would have allowed her to play a second diamond and come to 10 tricks more easily.


But Brock later considered what might have happened in this variation if West had started with a spade holding of J-9-8-2. Wouldn’t dropping the spade jack on the second round be a terrific falsecard, tempting declarer to overtake — and create a spade loser where none had existed before?


South Holds:

9 8 4
8 4
A J 6 5
A J 4 2


South West North East
  1 1 Pass
1 NT Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: Your hand is certainly good enough for you to raise to three diamonds, rather than tamely passing. The only question is if you have enough to do more than produce the courtesy raise. Calls of both three clubs and two spades would sound like cue-bids in support of diamonds. I think you would need a fifth diamond, or maybe the diamond queen instead of the jack, to be worth either of those actions.


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