Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Veil, if ill, thy soul's intent:
Let me think it innocent!

Maria Gowen Brooks

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



Today's deal was reported by Ron Klinger of Australia, the innocent party defending from the West seat and a serious candidate for the best-played hand of the year. To test yourself (and see whether you too could be a world-beater!), cover up the East and West cards.

Where would you like to play the hand? The spade slam looks entirely playable since it has excellent chances if either of the major-suit finesses works. Is there anything that can be done if the kings do not cooperate? Let’s see!

Yoshiyuki Nakamura and Masayuki Nakamura were South and North respectively.

Nakamura reached slam, won the diamond lead in hand, passed the spade jack successfully, unblocked both top club honors, played a spade to the queen, and found that the 4-1 fit meant he had a virtually sure loser in that suit.

Rather than relying on the heart finesse, Nakamura postponed the decision. He ruffed a club, then took the diamond ace, spade ace, and club jack, and led the diamond queen. In the four-card ending, West was down to the spade king and the heart K-10-5. If he ruffed, he would have been endplayed to lead a heart into declarer’s tenace, so he discarded a heart, and South now ruffed his last diamond in hand. This time West had no choice but to overruff, or the heart ace would have been declarer’s 12th trick, but he finally had to concede the last two tricks to declarer’s A-Q of hearts.

Your partner's negative double suggests precisely four spades. With no heart stopper and no comfortable rebid (a call of two clubs strongly tends to suggest 5-4 in the minors), best is to bid one spade. Your partner should know that bidding a three-carder here is a live possibility. After all, a jump to two spades would suggest no more than 12-14, but a shapely hand with four spades.


♠ A Q 7
 4 2
 A Q 6 4
♣ J 9 8 3
South West North East
1 1 Dbl. 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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact