Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Dealer: West

Vul: Neither


A J 5 2

A K 10 6 2


6 4 2


10 8 3

Q 9

A K 9 4

A 9 8 5


9 6 4

J 7 5 3

6 3 2

J 10 3


K Q 7

8 4

Q J 10 8 5

K Q 7


South West North East
  1 1 Pass
2 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening Lead: Club Five

“Low at my problem bending,

Another problem comes…”

— Emily Dickinson

This week’s deals all come from the world championships held this time last year in Philadelphia. The swing that arose on this board from the teams event was somewhat random in nature, since a lot depended on the minor suit opened by West. If West opened one club and South ended up in three no-trump without having bid a suit, then it was natural for West to lead either a high or low diamond at the first trick. It did not really matter which card West chose. It was then easy for South to establish diamonds and bring home nine tricks.


By contrast, if declarer received an unhelpful club lead, as happened when Tarek Sadek was declarer in three no-trump in the Rosenblum, there was considerably more work to do. He won the lead in his hand, knocked out one high diamond, then took the spade shift and knocked out the other top diamond. When a spade came back, he could see that he needed to achieve an endplay on West, which in turn required that player to have only two hearts.


So he cashed both top hearts and just two more rounds of spades, ending in hand, then drove out the diamond nine, endplaying West to lead clubs to him for the ninth trick. In the end Sadek took only three spade tricks, but he also scored two hearts, three diamonds, and a second club trick for his contract.


South Holds:

K Q 7
8 4
Q J 10 8 5
K Q 7


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
1 NT 2 2 3
ANSWER: The fact that you have five chunky diamonds outweighs your defensive club holding. Both sides rate to have a nine-card fit here, so you should bid three diamonds and compete to the level of your total trumps, a theory espoused by Larry Cohen and the Law of Total Tricks. When in doubt, bid on with trump, as opposed to high cards.


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


le_valet_de_piqueOctober 25th, 2011 at 1:11 pm

In the line indicated, in NT declarer takes 2 diamond tricks.

Amnon HarelOctober 25th, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Also, the last paragraph should start:

“So he cashed both top hearts and just one more round of spades….”

as the previous paragraph reported that West returned a spade

both times that Tarek led a high diamond, and the point is that

Tarek stranded the 4th spade winner to resolve his communication

problems (needs to be in hand to lead the 4th diamond), and got

that trick back from the long diamond (which would’ve been discarded

on the 4th spade anyway).

Bobby WolffOctober 26th, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Hi Amnon,

Thanks for clearing up some confusing reporting.

Amnon HarelOctober 27th, 2011 at 1:24 am

Dear Bobby,

Completely my pleasure. I’m a huge fan, and I’ve been enjoying your column for a long time now. So many nice hands and anecdotes, especially in the discussions where you allow yourself to occasionally dig deeper than the newspaper format allows.

So thanks to you for all the stimulating hands and analysis!