Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, December 16th, 2011

Another such victory over the Romans, and we are undone.


North North
North-South ♠ A K 5 2
 10 9 7 6
♣ A Q J 7
West East
♠ Q J 9 4
 10 9 2
♣ 9 6 5 3 2
♠ 8 7
 K J 5 4 3
 A J 8 5 2
♣ 10
♠ 10 6 3
 A Q 7 6
 Q 4 3
♣ K 8 4
South West North East
1 1
2 NT Pass 3 NT All pass

Today's deal from a recent junior championship was one of the coups of the year. It arose in the Norway-Portugal match, and it was somewhat ironic that all it did was hold declarer's losses on the board.

Three no-trump by South looks to be a fair spot, but you will see that it is very hard work for declarer to establish a ninth trick. Say you win the lead of the heart 10, cross to dummy, and successfully run the diamond 10. West wins and plays a second heart, and the defense has the tempo to establish hearts before you get a diamond trick.

All right: back to the drawing board. Win the second heart and play on diamonds. That is no good either; the defense still has the necessary communications to get hearts going.

Roderigo Soares varied the script when he found the excellent play of ducking two rounds of hearts! West naturally enough played a third heart, and now Soares crossed to dummy in clubs to run the diamond 10 to the king. (Yes, East would have done better to cover the diamond 10 with the jack, but this play is not so easy to spot at the table, and he did not find it.) As West had no heart left, declarer came to his ninth trick in comfort.

Alas for him, his teammates had been doubled in three hearts with the East-West cards and had gone for 800, so Soares’s coup only limited the damage. Still, it was a very well-played hand.

You have enough to invite game, and the obvious trump suit is diamonds, so jump to three diamonds to show precisely these values. If no-trump is the correct resting place, let partner suggest it. Without an honor-card in spades, you should not probe for no-trump here unless you have game-forcing values.


♠ 10 6 3
 A Q 7 6
 Q 4 3
♣ K 8 4
South West North East
1 Pass
1 1♠ 2♣ Pass

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