Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 5th, 2015

Civilization is like a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness.

Werner Herzog

S North
None ♠ A J 10
 K Q 9 8
♣ A J 8 5 3
West East
♠ Q 4 3 2
 K 10 6 5 4
 A 7 4
♣ 2
♠ K 9 5
 J 9 8
 J 3
♣ Q 9 7 6 4
♠ 8 7 6
 A Q 7 2
 10 6 5 2
♣ K 10
South West North East
Pass 1 Dbl. 2
Pass Pass Dbl. Pass
3 NT All pass    


Today’s deal is from the women’s world championships in Sanya, China last October. It is from the match between the Moss team of the USA, against Singapore. Disa Eythorsdottir, originally from Iceland, but now living in Huntsville, Alabama, was declarer.

After her partner Lynn Deas had doubled twice, Disa assumed correctly that she had sufficient extra values for three no-trump to have decent play. So she leaped directly to the contract she thought she could make.

Disa won the lead of the heart five in hand with the queen, and led a diamond to the king, a club to the king and a diamond to the queen. With two diamond tricks in the bag she now required just four club tricks, so she thoughtfully led a low club from the board to make full use of her intermediates. Had East ducked, declarer would have reverted to diamonds, but East accurately rose with the club queen, and the 5-1 split meant one of South’s contemplated nine tricks had vanished.

East now reverted to hearts. Disa ducked, pitching a club from dummy, (necessary, since if she had discarded a diamond, West would have cashed the diamond ace and exited in spades). Disa won the next heart, discarding a diamond, and now led a spade to the 10.

When East won her spade king, she had to lead a club; so Disa cashed both clubs and forced West to let go both her hearts. Now a diamond exit endplayed West to lead spades at trick 12, and declarer finessed for her ninth trick.

The opponents are clearly in a limited auction, and will not have any values to spare. (If they did, they would be playing in game.) The diamond lead is most passive, while a spade lead is most likely both to set up tricks for your side, but it may well cost a trick if it is wrong. I’m going to lead diamonds, on the grounds that I may be able to shift to spades later, if need be.


♠ J 10 6
 Q 8 7 5
 8 6 4
♣ Q J 7
South West North East
  1 ♣ Pass 1
Pass 1 ♠ Pass 2 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


A.V.Ramana RaoOctober 19th, 2015 at 12:31 pm

Hi Dear Mr Wolff
I might be wrong but I would knock out A of Diamond at the fifth trick after J falls with the reasoning that I shall have Three diamond tricks, Two Heart tricks- and as East has already come up with two Jacks, the maximum she can have is another Four to Five points. If both are in Spades, the Club finesse is sure to succeed else the double finesse in Spades will work and East cannot have more than three hearts. So playing 9 of diamonds at trick number five ( creating entry to hand via 10 of diamonds) stands out a mile. Or perhaps I am missing something

bobby wolffOctober 19th, 2015 at 2:51 pm


You are definitely not missing much, but it is likely that declarer feared the opening bidder, West. had both the King, Queen of spades for her opening bid.

Usually when playing against random adequate pairs from around the world, the opening bidder is less likely to take liberties in upgrading her hand, than her partner might with a simple raise to 2 of her partner’s major.

After examining West’s opening bid one can understand how Disa could have gone wrong with her slightly different analysis to yours.

Give East four little spades and one less club to go with her queen and possibly the two defensive hands would look more likely to occur.

I like your line, but since Disa was still able to score up her contract, despite the bad club break, it should be respected.

The elephant in the room is what the declarer chooses to discard from dummy on the 2nd and 3rd lead of hearts, and postponing that event until 2 diamond tricks are won appears to be right on and necessary.

Finally it has indeed become fashionable to raise one heart to two after a TO double by RHO with: s. xxx(x), h. Jxx, d. Jx, c. Qxxx(x) leaving West with: s. KQ(x), h. K10xxx, d. Axx, c. xx(x).

Thanks for your thought process which will always turn out to be a positive enterprise for all aspiring up and coming players.