Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Don’t quack like a duck, soar like an eagle.

Ken Blanchard

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

*Asking for five-card majors


The timing for releasing the trump ace can be the key to the success or failure of a contract.

The final contract in both rooms was four spades. In one room, on the lead of the heart jack, declarer won in dummy, then ran the spade 10. Whether West takes the ace now or on the spade continuation does not matter. Declarer comes to his contract, losing just two diamonds and the trump ace.

In the other room Leonid Podgur also led the heart jack. Jeff Meckstroth won in hand, played a club to the ace, then a spade to the king, which Podgur ducked in tempo. The tempo was important, for had Meckstroth been given any reason for suspecting a holdup, he had two other lines available. The simple one would be to return to dummy and run the spade 10. Or he could have cashed dummy’s club king, ruffed a club low in hand, then played the heart queen followed by the ace. Now a trump from dummy to the queen and ace endplays West into either opening the diamonds or playing the fourth heart. East can ruff with the spade jack, but now a diamond goes away, and only one diamond trick is lost.

In fact, Meckstroth, believing the spade ace was with East, simply entered dummy with a club to play another spade to the queen and ace. Two trump and two diamond tricks saw the game off.

Diamonds rates to be your side's safest partscore, so it certainly does not look wrong to pass. However, this hand has just enough potential for game to stay in contention. I would correct to two spades, hoping partner might find another bid. The simple raise to three diamonds might also work out fine here.


♠ A 4
 J 10 8 6
 A J 6 2
♣ 10 6 3
South West North East
1♠ 2♣
Dbl. Pass 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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact