Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: Both


K Q J 10 9 6


9 7 4

6 4 3


A 5 4 3

9 6 5 3

Q 2

10 8 5



7 2

J 10 8 6 3

Q J 9 7 2


7 2

A K Q J 10 8

A K 5



South West North East
2 Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead: Heart Three

“Life that dares send

A challenge to his end,

And when it comes, say, Welcome friend!”

— Richard Crashaw

Challenge the Champs is a popular monthly bidding contest that has appeared in The Bridge World magazine for over 40 years. In each match, two top expert pairs bid 10 difficult deals, and the contracts reached are scored on their merits. Collections of these classic matches have been published in books in which the players’ hands are removable, allowing readers to test their own partnership’s bidding against the champions’, then to see the experts’ sequences analyzed. The ninth book in the series has just been released. For details see


Occasionally the deals feature play problems as well as bidding problems; here is one of my favorites. Ideally, you would play six spades — this can be accomplished if you use an artificial response to two clubs to show a solid or semisolid suit. But let’s say you do not have such a neat gadget available, and North has failed to convert six hearts to six spades, which he might well have chosen to do. How should you play six hearts on a trump lead?


The answer is to run all but one of your trumps, then cash the club ace and king before leading a spade to dummy, which the defenders must duck. Now you ruff a club, cash the high diamonds, and lead a second spade, hoping to find one defender unable to avoid giving trick 13 to the dummy.


With this layout, West cannot defeat the slam after the initial trump lead.


South Holds:

7 2
J 10 8 6 3
Q J 9 7 2


South West North East
    1 1
3 4 Dbl. Pass
ANSWER: When you make a preemptive call you transfer captaincy of the deal to your partner; he knows what you have and you should let him take the decision for the partnership. Here you showed a weak hand with clubs and he opted to defend – why distrust him? Lead your singleton spade and cross your fingers.


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