Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, November 29th, 2014

If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same.

Rudyard Kipling

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


This defensive problem proved too hard for the pair who encountered it at the table, when John Lusky, declarer, had competed to three hearts in the expectation of buying a little more high-cards or shape from dummy. Before we come to the play at the table, do you put your money on declarer or the defense?

Against three hearts doubled West led the club nine. What East did at the table was to win the ace and return the heart nine — which was clearly an inferior play since it might have destroyed his partner’s second trump trick or solved a guess for declarer.

While he had not actually committed either of these solecisms, it left his partner forced to guess at trick three in which suit his side had further defensive tricks to come.

At the table, West shifted to a spade on winning the heart king (playing for his partner to have the queen-jack of spades and not the diamond jack. Now declarer could draw trump and dispose of one of his diamonds on the long spade. Cui culpa?

East’s winning move at trick two would have been to return either the club seven or the club 10, in context suit preference for the low suit. West then has to rise with the heart king on the first round of the suit and shift to diamonds, playing for precisely this position. But he should know East doesn’t have, for example, the queen-jack of spades, or he would have returned a high club at trick two.

Normally one requires four trumps to raise one's partner, but this hand looks like a raise to two diamonds. Your hand seems to offer the equivalent playing strength as a four-card raise. Incidentally, some would play the double here as showing three trumps. Others use it to distinguish between a balanced and an unbalanced hand with four spades — you double with the former and bid one spade with the latter.


♠ Q 10 3
 9 7
 K J 5
♣ A Q J 10 7
South West North East
1♣ Pass 1 1

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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact