Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: East-West


10 9 5

Q 6 2

K Q 8 6

K 4 3


J 7 6 2

J 4

J 10 4 2

A 6 2


K 8 4 3

A 10 8 7

J 10 9 8 5



K 9 5 3

A 9 7 5 3

Q 7


South West North East
1 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening Lead: Spade Two

“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.”

— Homer

My friend Billy Clegg, a multiple winner of the Ace of Clubs award, was the CEO of an elite office supply house in San Antonio, The Clegg Company, and he and his wife, Terri, were among the best players in town.


Clegg believed strongly in opening one no-trump when at all possible to conceal suits and have the opening lead come up to the strong hand. Sixty years ago it was frowned upon to take liberties with one-no-trump openings — there were those who believed it was verboten with 5-4-2-2 shape or with a suit completely unstopped.


Years later, the expert community is now echoing the advantages of opening one no-trump whenever possible, but Billy was there before them.


In this deal from a team game, Clegg reached no-trump from the South seat, whereas in the other room that South opened his hand one diamond. Three no-trump was played by North, down immediately on a club lead.


On a spade lead Clegg won in hand and carefully played diamonds in the recommended way by cashing the diamond ace first, since he knew he could not guard against 4-0 diamonds with East having the length. After finessing the diamond eight, he saw East pitch a spade and a heart, so he led a heart to his hand, setting up the hearts before the clubs.


He won the spade return, repeated the diamond finesse, and led a club toward his queen. The defenders had two spades and two aces, but that was all.


South Holds:

9 6 5 3
K 6
9 7 6
7 5 4 3


South West North East
1 Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 4 NT
Pass 5 Pass 6
All Pass      
ANSWER: I would not lead a diamond (partner had a chance to double a diamond bid and did not do so). The choice is a spade, hoping to set up a winner before declarer develops one of the side-suits for discards, or a club, hoping to give partner a ruff when in with the heart king. Both plans are perfectly reasonable; I tend to favor the second approach.


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