Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Study from new books but from old teachers.

Turkish proverb

East North
Neither ♠ 10 8 7 4
 A 5 4
 K Q 4 3
♣ 8 4
West East
♠ J 9 5 3
 J 7 6 2
♣ A Q 7 3
♠ —
 K Q 10 9 8 6
 10 8 5
♣ 9 6 5 2
♠ A K Q 6 2
 J 7 2
 A 9
♣ K J 10
South West North East
Dbl. Rdbl. Pass 2
2♠ Pass 4♠ All pass

*Weak, showing either hearts or spades


Turkey's Senior Team won its country's first-ever European Teams Championship title a couple of years ago. This hand features a well-reasoned play by Orhan Ekinci, a member of that team, reported by Erdal Sidor, Turkey's Open Team captain.

Against four spades West led his singleton heart, and South rose with dummy’s ace. The play seems straightforward: draw trumps, then pitch a heart on the third diamond and play on clubs for 11 tricks if the club queen sits onside, or for 10 if not.

But Ekinci had to reassess when, at trick two, he discovered he had a trump loser. How to proceed? One line would be to play three rounds of diamonds, discarding a heart from hand, then finesse East for the club queen. East was less likely to have the club ace as well as his strong heart holding, for then he might have opened one heart. And indeed that is how the play went at many tables.

However, Ekinci already knew that West held a singleton heart plus four spades, whereas East had six cards in the majors. If additionally he held four diamonds, he could be endplayed. So declarer cashed three rounds of diamonds, shedding a heart, then led dummy’s fourth diamond, on which he pitched his last heart. West won, but was now endplayed in the black suits.

Incidentally, had East produced the fourth diamond, Ekinci would have ruffed high and played a low spade. He would still have come home had the club queen been well-placed for him.

It looks tempting to raise diamonds, but that underplays the strength of your hand. In many ways it is actually better to respond one no-trump, by-passing spades but getting the general strength of your hand across, or simply to bid one spade. The latter course risks being raised on a three-card suit, but the general strength of your hand should compensate for the weak spades.


♠ 10 8 7 4
 A 5 4
 K Q 4 3
♣ 8 4
South West North East
1 Dbl.

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