Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: North-South


J 5

J 4

Q 8 4

A 9 8 6 4 2


10 8 7 6 3

8 7 2

A J 5 2




K Q 6 5 3

10 9 7

Q J 7 5


A Q 9 4 2

A 10 9

K 6 3

K 10


South West North East
1 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening Lead: Spade Six

“The golden rule is to help those we love to escape from us; and never try to begin to help people, or influence them till they ask, but wait for them.”

— Friedrich von Huegel

In this deal from the IMP Pairs at the world championships in Philadelphia last year, Steve Hamaoui played three no-trump against the lead of the spade six, to the five, king and ace. Hamaoui cashed the club king and ran the club 10 to East, as West pitched a heart. East took the trick and played the heart king, ducked by Hamaoui, who played the heart jack from dummy, unblocking. East might have done better to switch to the diamond 10, but he persisted in hearts. Hamaoui took the heart 10 and cashed the ace, as West discarded a diamond.


Now Hamaoui played a low diamond from hand, winning the queen in dummy. He played off the club ace, and West was caught. Discarding the diamond jack would have let declarer make an overtrick. But if West discarded a spade, Hamaoui could still cash the spade and play a diamond. West would win the two diamond tricks but would still be endplayed in the spade suit, giving Hamaoui enough spade winners for his contract.


Curiously, the key defensive maneuver was for West to play the diamond jack on the first lead of the suit. If he had done so, declarer would not have been able to come up with the endplay he found. Declarer could not overtake the spade jack without conceding the setting tricks, and if he cashed the spade jack and led a diamond, East’s 10-9 would assure that he would gain the lead sooner or later to cash the setting tricks.


South Holds:

K Q 6 5 3
10 9 7
Q J 7 5


South West North East
1 Dbl. 1 Pass
ANSWER: Your partner’s one-spade bid should be constructive but nonforcing in competition. (Had West passed over one heart, the call is most commonly played as forcing by an unpassed hand.) Your lack of spade fit and decent club guard suggests a bid of one no-trump is the most practical action now.


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