Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 14th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: East-West


K J 10 8 2

J 7

A 9

J 8 6 5


9 6 3

K Q 9 3

10 8 6 5

10 7


Q 5

10 8 4

K Q 4 2

K 4 3 2


A 7 4

A 6 5 2

J 7 3

A Q 9


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

Opening Lead: Heart Three

“I saw the Night caught, as by wizard’s spell,

In the red meshes of the setting sun…”

— H. Duncan Hall

In this deal from the Mixed Pairs final last year in Philadelphia, Neil Rosen of England rejected the 5-3 spade fit and played three no-trump instead. He was off to a good start when West led the heart three to dummy’s jack. When a club to the queen saw West’s seven appear, declarer could infer that it might well be from club 10-7. A spade to dummy’s jack saw East win with the queen. Declarer ducked the heart return and took the next heart, discarding dummy’s diamond nine. He then ran the spade suit, and East came under unbearable pressure.


If he parted with a club, declarer would play the jack, pinning West’s 10, then cash another club winner and go back to dummy with a diamond to score the club eight.


So East discarded the diamond queen, but now declarer could run the club jack, then cash the diamond ace and cross to hand with the club ace for a magnificent plus 660.


Incidentally, once declarer has ducked a heart, East can break up the ending by switching to the diamond king. However, if declarer takes the heart ace at once and cashes his spades, East will have to part with his last heart and two diamonds. Now, if declarer reads the position, he can run the club jack, ducked by East. Then he plays the diamond ace and a diamond, scoring the last two tricks with the club ace and the diamond jack.


South Holds:

K J 10 8 2
J 7
A 9
J 8 6 5


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 1 NT Pass
ANSWER: You have no real interest in game, facing a balanced hand that can’t raise spades, so the only issue is whether to play spades or no-trump. If you play, as I do, that your partner can raise with three spades in a semi-balanced hand, it looks clear to pass. Your partner might have a singleton spade and won’t often have three. Meanwhile, you have enough high cards for one no-trump to look safe.


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