Aces on Bridge


; Q 10 4 3

k K 9 8 5 3

l Q 6 5 4

' ---


; A 9 6 5 ; 8 2

k J 6 k Q 10 2

l A K 9 3 l 10 8 7 2

'Q 9 6 ' A J 8 4


; K J 7

k A 7 4

l J

' K 10 7 5 3 2

Vulnerable: East-West

Dealer: North

The bidding:

South West North East

2 l* Pass

2 k Dbl. 3 k All pass

*Weak, with both majors

Opening Lead: Diamond king

"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?"

-- Robert Browning

North's unusual opening call plus his re-raise got his side to a tough part-score.

West cashed a top diamond and shifted to the heart jack. Declarer won the heart ace and led out the spade king to West's ace. Back came a second trump; declarer won with the heart king, ruffed a diamond, and then played the spade jack and another spade. East ruffed in and exited with the club ace. Now the defenders had two more minor-suit tricks for one down.

Declarer could not afford to take two diamond ruffs early, as that would have involved ruffing two clubs in dummy, which would have relinquished control. Instead, declarer might have attempted to combine scoring ruffs with setting up spades. Say he ruffs a club at trick three and then plays a spade to the king. West wins and plays a second trump to dummy's king, but now declarer can cross to the spade jack, ruff another club and run spades.

At that point, East cannot ruff in without endplaying his side one way or another, so he discards. Declarer counters by ruffing a diamond in hand and then ruffing a third club with dummy's last trump, scoring two hearts, three spades and four ruffs. The key was to ruff clubs early so declarer could take three ruffs on table.

South could have succeeded at double-dummy after West won the first spade. On winning the second heart in dummy, declarer had to ruff a diamond, cross to the spade 10 and give up a heart to East to generate an extra minor-suit trick.


South holds:

; 8 2

k Q 10 2

l10 8 7 2

' A J 8 4

South West North East

1 l Pass


ANSWER: Partner could have only three diamonds, so I would respond one no-trump rather than raising in any fashion. This is at least descriptive of my high cards and should not rule out our side getting to diamonds in competition if partner has shape. If he doesn't, is there any point in finding diamonds at all?

If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, email him at

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