Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, December 28th, 2019

I have seldom known anyone who deserted truth in trifles that could be trusted in matters of importance.

William Paley

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


At Shanghai in the 2007 World Championships, what seemed to be a routine diamond slam proved not always to be so easy to make. When Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell played Argentina, they bid to six diamonds (though not on this auction), and Pablo Lambardi led his singleton heart. Of course, Meckstroth won the ace. He led a diamond to the king, and Luis Palazzo dropped the queen!

Trusting this card, Meckstroth assumed Lambardi was left with a sure diamond trick. If that was the case, the slam could still be made if declarer could avoid a heart loser by throwing all three hearts from dummy on the winning clubs, then ruffing the heart two.

A possibility that would have succeeded today would have been to unblock the club queen, then cross to hand with a diamond to play winning clubs. However, that line would fail if West held only three clubs with the four diamonds. He would ruff the fourth club with the diamond nine and return the diamond 10, to draw dummy’s last trump and leave declarer with a heart loser.

Meckstroth instead crossed to hand with the spade ace after cashing the club queen. Now, should West ruff the fourth club and return a trump, there would still be a trump in dummy to ruff the heart.

But now, although dummy’s hearts duly went away on the clubs, Palazzo ruffed the fourth club with his surprise trump. When he played a heart, Lambardi could ruff in front of dummy with the diamond nine for down one.

You should double here, which I recommend you play as take-out. You certainly have enough to compete the part-score, but I admit this could easily be the wrong thing to do. Still, partner will surely bid a major unless he has a defensive hand. And if partner passes, the club queen and diamond king should be pulling their weight in defense.


♠ Q 9 4 3 2
 J 9 8 3
 K 8 3
♣ Q
South West North East
    1 NT 3 ♣

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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact