Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Dealer: East

Vul: North-South


J 9 3

10 9

K 7 6 4 3 2

K 5


K Q 6

K J 6 3 2

10 9

A 7 6


A 10 8 7 5 4


Q 8 5

Q 10 8



A Q 8 5 4


J 9 4 3 2


South West North East
3 All Pass    

Opening Lead: Spade King

“Ninety-nine percent of the people in the world are fools and the rest of us are in great danger of contagion.”

— Thornton Wilder

Today’s deal comes from the Manhattan Bridge Club heat of the New York sectional this summer. East-West were playing an announced hyperaggressive weak-two style where they opened five-card suits almost regardless of suit quality. Hence, West’s decision not to compete to three spades — though maybe if playing this style, East should have balanced with a double of three hearts.


Barry Rigal, playing with Jacqui Slifka, ruffed the second spade, led a club to the king, cashed the diamond ace and king, and led a low club from the board. East, caught napping, ducked and the jack forced West’s ace. That player got off lead with a third spade. (A club is probably a better play, but it does not work as the cards lie.)


Rigal ruffed, ruffed a club, and had reached a five-card ending where he needed three tricks to make his contract. He led a diamond from dummy, and when East followed suit, he knew that player’s precise shape, and therefore that West was down to five trumps. So he discarded a club, and West was forced to ruff his partner’s winner and lead a trump (thus extracting his partner’s last trump). Dummy’s 10 won the trick, and declarer led another diamond to pitch another club.


West was forced to ruff again and, as a final indignity, was now endplayed for a second time, conceding the last two trumps to declarer: contract made!


South Holds:

J 9 3
10 9
K 7 6 4 3 2
K 5


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: Your partner’s sequence shows a strong hand, somewhere in the range of 16-18 with five clubs and four spades. He is looking for a heart stop or some other feature of your hand. My instinct would be to give delayed spade support with a two-spade bid. It is economical and gives your partner room to advance.


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