Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Dealer: East

Vul: Both


9 7 5

10 7 5 4

A 8

K J 10 4


K Q J 4 3

K Q 7 3

Q 9 8 5



K J 3

J 10 6 5

A 7 6 3 2


A 8 6 2

A Q 9 8 6 2

9 4 2


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

Opening Lead: Spade King

“In a dark time, the eye begins to see.”

— Theodore Roethke

In today’s deal from the Philadelphia world championships last year, two talented female players were in a delicate game contract — one that required not only a good view or two, but some help from the defense.


At both tables, against four hearts doubled, West unluckily led the spade king, squashing her partner’s 10. At the first table, declarer, Sheri Winestock, won with her ace and played a diamond to dummy’s ace. The next trick went heart four, three, two, and a discard, a play that ties a record. Declarer drew trump with the aid of another finesse, then conceded two spades and one diamond.


Note, though, that as the play went, if East had been less frugal with his hearts, playing the jack or king at trick three, he would have defeated the contract. Declarer would have won and played a second diamond, but West could have won, cashed two spades, and given East a spade ruff.


At our second table West also led the spade king against four hearts doubled. Heather Bakhshi also won the ace and led a low diamond, but here, when West instinctively followed low, Bakhshi made the key play of dummy’s eight, ducking it into the hand that could not cash the spade winners before she was ready. East won and returned a diamond to dummy’s ace. Bakhshi led the heart 10 and ran it, and now could pick up the trumps without loss, ruff a diamond in dummy, and concede just two spade tricks for a tremendous plus 790.


South Holds:

9 7 5
10 7 5 4
A 8
K J 10 4


South West North East
    1 Dbl.
ANSWER: Your hand falls inconveniently between a pre-emptive raise and a limit raise. It is not really that close to either action, is it? Some people deal with this problem by setting aside a two-club call in this sequence as artificial, suggesting a constructive spade raise, though that is typically a three-trump raise. Others use a jump in the other major to show four trumps and 6-9 HCP, which would be ideal here.


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