Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

One-half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.

Jane Austen

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


This deal came from the final match of the teams event at the Cavendish last year, won by Lou Ann O'Rourke, who retained her team's lead by defeating Roy Welland in the head-to-head match.

Welland had to fight to limit the damage here. His decision to lead his singleton club against four hearts, playing for ruffs, created an opportunity for declarer, one that would not have existed if the lead had been two top diamonds, which is what Steve Weinstein had done in the other room. All that declarer could do was ruff and set up the clubs, then rely on a favorable spade position. When none was forthcoming, he was down one.

However, against Welland’s club lead, declarer, Eric Greco, took the club ace, drew trumps, then cashed a second top club to find the bad news. He next led a diamond to the 10, jack and queen. It looks routine for West to exit by leading a second top diamond for declarer to ruff. But had Welland made that play, Greco would have pitched a spade instead of ruffing. That would have endplayed West, who would have to lead either spades or diamonds, allowing declarer to avoid losing a spade trick.

Welland saw this coming, so he underled his diamonds on the second round of the suit to Bart Bramley’s eight. Declarer could now do no better than ruff and eventually play for the spade king onside or some unlikely endplay from the spade spots. Down one, and a flat board.

It looks simple just to jump to six no-trump, assuming that you have enough high cards for this to make. However, a far better call is to explore with five no-trump. This is not the grand-slam force — it offers the choice of slams. It suggests the values for slam and asks partner to propose a strain at the six-level. He might have either five spades or four clubs, in which case you'd prefer not to play no-trump.


♠ A 7 3
 A Q 6 5
 5 4
♣ A K 4 3
South West North East
1 NT Pass
2♣ 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