Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: Neither


A 9 8

J 6

Q 5 4

A Q 9 4 2


10 6 3

Q 10 5 4

K 8

J 7 6 3


K 7 4 2

9 8 3

J 10 7 6

K 10


Q J 5

A K 7 2

A 9 3 2

8 5



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


Opening Lead: Heart Four

“My life closed twice before its close;

It yet remains to see

If Immortality unveil

A third event to me.”


— Emily Dickinson

It is rare to find both tables in a match exploiting the power of the closed hand (i.e., the idea that declarer can put pressure on his opponents by leading toward his hand and not toward the exposed holding in dummy). However, in a recent European Championship we were lucky enough to observe just that.


This hand cropped up in the match between France and Germany in the 1995 European Championship and is a nice example of good play by both declarer and the defense.


Against three no-trump Paul Chemla led a natural if unfortunate low heart, won by dummy’s jack, and it is worthwhile taking a few seconds to consider how one would proceed from here as declarer. Klaus Reps found the excellent shot of a low club from dummy, but Michel Perron played his club 10 in perfect tempo, which held the trick. Back came a second heart, and Reps won the heart ace, to play a second club. He took some time over his decision, but eventually played dummy’s queen (which would only be wrong if Perron had ducked from the doubleton K-10, as indeed he had). Now a third round of hearts left Reps without resource.


The contract and opening lead were the same at the other table in this match. The French declarer also found the low club lead from dummy at trick two, but the German defender rose with the king, and now declarer had no further problems.


South Holds:

A 9 8
J 6
Q 5 4
A Q 9 4 2


South West North East
    1 1
2 Dbl. Pass Pass
ANSWER: Your partner’s pass of the double of two hearts suggests a minimum hand, with no more than a moderate heart stop. Since you have denied four spades (or you would have made a negative double on the round before), it looks right to temporize with two spades now. If your partner has a heart stop, he will surely bid two no-trump next, and you can raise to game.


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

1 Comment

Howard Bigot-JohnsonNovember 16th, 2011 at 10:09 pm

HBJ : What if Declarer plays a second low club ducking all round to put in East again with his presumed King. Sure enough a third heart will come back, declarer taking it with the Ace. Now comes the spade finesse losing to East ( who is now out of hearts). Game over with declarer making 3C, 2S,3H and 1D, with the defence only making 2C, 1S and a diamond in the wash.