Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, August 24th, 2015

The dust of exploded beliefs may make a fine sunset.

Geoffrey Madan

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


Since the world junior teams are taking place now in Croatia, this week’s deals focus on the junior event from 2003, won by USA. When USA took on the Norwegians, the match was close till the end. However an explosion of penalty doubles set the seal on an impressive American finish. Here, though Norway did well in one room, the board then blew up in their faces in the other room.

Both tables played four spades doubled. In the Closed Room the Norwegian West led a club, to the seven, eight and jack. Declarer established another club trick by returning a club to the queen and ace. East now laid down the heart ace, but that helped South set up the hearts, and escape for one down one.

In the other room West also led the club four, but this time East, John Kranyak, took the ace and decided to go for bigger game. He returned a deceptive spade nine to declarer’s ace, who now cashed two clubs discarding a heart.

When declarer decided to finesse in diamonds, the roof fell in. West won his king and played back the heart queen to the king and East’s ace. That player then switched back to a trump to dummy’s king. The best declarer could do now was to let the heart eight run to North’s nine, to emerge three down. USA had 800 and 12 IMPs.

Had declarer ruffed the second heart in hand and tried to ruff a diamond in dummy, East would have overruffed, and drawn trump, to collect 1100!

In Larry Cohen’s new book on opening leads (Larry Cohen teaches opening leads) he suggests that you should lead a heart rather than a club, even though clubs is your best suit. Try to lead up to declarer’s weakness not his strength; you can infer declarer rates to have club length not strength, hence hearts is safer. Some would lead the seven not the three; I’m ambivalent on that issue.


♠ 8 6 2
 10 7 4 3
 A 4
♣ K J 8 7
South West North East
  1 Pass 1 NT
All 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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact