Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Dealer: West

Vul: Neither


Q 10


A J 10 7 6 4

10 9 2


9 3

A J 5 3 2

9 3

Q J 7 5


A 8 7 4

9 6

Q 8

A 8 6 4 3


K J 6 5 2

10 8 7 4

K 5 2



South West North East
  Pass 1 Pass
1 2 Pass 3
Dbl. Pass 3 All Pass

Opening Lead: Club Queen

“Once I passed through a populous city, imprinting my brain, for future use, with its shows, architecture, customs, and traditions.”

— Oliver Wendell Holmes

Over the years, the Junior European Championships have formed a showground of the players who are likely to supplant their elders in the future. All four players in today’s deal have indeed gone on to represent their respective countries at the open level.


Today’s deal features a play known as the dentist’s coup. It arose in a match between the Hungarians and the Irish. The Irish North South had made three diamonds comfortably enough, but in the other room the Hungarians competed to three spades over East’s three-heart bid. The best defense is a low club lead, but Tommy Garvey for Ireland naturally led the club queen to East’s ace. A second club came back, on which declarer, Tamas Szalka, threw a heart.


West took the jack, cashed the heart ace, and returned another heart. Now declarer cashed dummy’s club 10 to throw his last heart, then played the spade queen, followed by the spade 10, both ducked by John Carroll. This was nice defense; if the defenders take the trump ace early, declarer has no further problems with the timing of the hand.


Now came the dentist’s coup: if declarer carelessly crosses to hand with the diamond king to play a third trump, East wins and returns a diamond, locking him in dummy to concede a diamond ruff. Szalka carefully played the diamond ace and a second diamond to his king before playing the third round of trumps, leaving the defenders helpless.


South Holds:

K J 6 5 2
10 8 7 4
K 5 2


South West North East
  2 Pass 3
Pass Pass 3 NT Pass
ANSWER: Your partner has shown the minors, and a hand that was not good enough for direct action over the pre-empt. You don’t have to work out too thoroughly what he has; your absence of aces should persuade you to settle for a simple call of four diamonds. Don’t hang your partner for balancing.


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