Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, October 20th, 2012

Must I change my triumphant songs? Said I to myself;
Must I indeed learn to chant the cold dirges of the baffled?
And sullen hymns of defeat?

Walt Whitman

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


Second hand low is not always best. Consider today's deal from the 2011 Bermuda Bowl, where South generally ended up playing two or three no-trump on a club lead to his nine. All declarers next played the diamond king, and most Easts won the second diamond to return a club. South does best to win and lead a spade, hoping to force an entry to dummy's diamonds.

West should now infer that East must have the spade king to have won the diamond. So if South leads a low spade, West must insert the 10! Now the defenders can deny declarer an entry to dummy whatever he does. By contrast, if South starts by leading out the spade jack, both defenders must duck.

When Chris Bosenberg of South Africa was declarer, he played on diamonds at trick two, and East took the second diamond and played back a heart.

Declarer finessed, cashed the club ace, and exited with a low heart — a fine play. East won and returned a low heart, letting declarer repeat the finesse (West pitching his diamond and a club) and play a spade to the nine and king. That now ensured the entry to dummy for the contract.

Here, the blocking play of the spade 10 by West would not have worked. East could win the spade king and return a spade, but declarer could play the spade jack. Now West’s winning the trick gives declarer the entry to dummy, while ducking the trick leads to West’s being subsequently endplayed in spades.

You have just enough to raise to four spades. The reason is that had your partner made a three-spade overcall, he would have already shown a decent opening bid. The double followed by a new suit bid shows even more extras, and while you cannot be sure your diamond queen and doubleton club will be useful, it is better to have them than not.


♠ Q 9 5
 5 3 2
 Q 9 8 5 4
♣ 7 4
South West North East
3♣ Dbl. Pass
3 Pass 3♠ 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